In-depth analysis of the full-chain game and its ecosystem: the future of Web3 games?
Analysis of Full-Chain Game and its ecosystem: Future of Web3 games?
Original Text: “What exactly is On-Chain Gaming?”
Author: AW Research
Recently, the conversation around gaming has shifted from traditional blockchain games to On-Chain Gaming. What are the differences between On-Chain Gaming and traditional blockchain games?
This article takes an in-depth look at the differences and essential characteristics between On-Chain Gaming and traditional blockchain games, including the significant differences in design concepts, operational models, and even user experience. The second part of the article will explore some of the key technologies of On-Chain Gaming from a detailed and professional perspective and use actual cases to demonstrate how these technologies can be applied in On-Chain Gaming to promote its continuous development and innovation.
On-Chain Gaming is a game that records all operational behaviors of the game, including game logic, assets, economic models, rules, and interactions, on the blockchain and is executed by the blockchain. In this mode, the blockchain acts as the server of the game, using smart contracts to ensure strict compliance with and verification of the game rules.
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In On-Chain Gaming, every action by the player is achieved through interaction with smart contracts. This enhances transparency and improves the security of the operation. All data storage, logic execution, and narration of the game take place on the blockchain, while governance is achieved through a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
On-Chain Gaming represents a completely decentralized mode that does not require any permission to run the game and has a high degree of composability. This game mode breaks the traditional game operation mode and truly realizes fair interaction between players and developers, while greatly enhancing the durability and scalability of the game.
Traditional Blockchain Gaming
In 2021, the “Player First” (Play-to-Earn, P2E) model has emerged, making blockchain games (GameFi) extremely popular. However, this popularity has subsided just as quickly. To a large extent, most GameFi projects are not much different from decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. The success of the P2E model requires enough new users to participate and needs to maintain limited user benefits with a mild token distribution strategy to extend the life cycle of the project. However, this does not solve the long-term playability problem of these games.
In fact, many P2E games are not inherently attractive. They usually just add simple game packaging on top of some financial tools to try to attract users. Worse still, the process of determining the rewards for these games is often opaque, making the entire system lack transparency, so players may feel distrustful.
In addition, once this type of game becomes successful, it may attract the attention of speculators. These speculators invest some money and expect to quickly profit from it. However, this leads to value flowing out of the game system and putting downward pressure on asset prices. Finally, the main logic and interactions of such games are still centralized and rely on centralized servers for computation and processing.
Features of Fully On-Chain Games
1/ Player Asset Ownership
Compared to traditional chain games, fully on-chain games have brought significant innovations in terms of player asset ownership. In traditional chain games, if the game’s operating and development team stops advancing, the value of player assets may be affected, and may even enter the so-called “Gamefi Death Spiral,” because the game’s lifeline depends on the team’s operating status. In this case, once the team stops operating, the value of players’ assets may plummet.
However, fully on-chain games have almost no need to worry about this. Once the game development team completes development and deploys it on the chain, the impact on the game is relatively small regardless of whether the original development team continues subsequent maintenance. This is because the game’s code is open source, and the community is fully capable of taking over the work of the original development team, and even leading the development of the game. Dark Forest is a vivid example of the power of the community in fully on-chain games.
In short, fully on-chain games change the limitations of traditional chain games, namely the over-reliance of asset values on team operations, by providing stronger guarantees for player asset ownership. In fully on-chain games, open source code and the power of the community can keep the game developing and safeguard the value of player assets.
The composability of fully on-chain games is its biggest feature that distinguishes it from traditional chain games, which is reflected in its non-permissioned characteristics. As long as the developer opens the code interface, anyone can use existing assets and give them new definitions and functions in a new game environment. For example, players can freely customize the configuration of game elements, combine various elements together, and create games and adventures that fully meet their own needs.
The customizability and composability of blockchain technology give full-chain games endless possibilities, allowing players to create and experience infinite innovation in the game world. This not only enhances the appeal of the game, but also opens up a whole new path for the game industry.
Simply put, a full-chain game is a game in which all core logic, including state storage, calculation, and execution, is completely placed on top of a blockchain smart contract.
In contrast, traditional chain games deploy all their core logic, such as state storage, calculation, and execution, entirely on centralized servers.
These two represent two completely different modes of game operation: Full-chain games tend to emphasize decentralization and openness, while traditional chain games rely on the operation and management of centralized servers.
Full-chain games have generated a gaming mechanism with a gaming element based on gameplay design.
Taking “Dark Forest” as an example, this is a strategy game based on the Ethereum blockchain. In this game, players can discover, occupy, and defend star systems. All game actions are executed on the Ethereum blockchain, making every player’s action fully transparent and tamper-proof, while also giving game assets (such as star systems) actual value.
The gameplay of “Dark Forest” introduces elements of game theory. The resources in the game are limited (such as star systems), and players need to optimize their resource acquisition and use through strategy and planning to achieve the best results. In this mode, each player’s decision will affect the decisions of other players and the overall state of the game. This creates an interactive and dynamic gaming environment in which each player is trying to predict and influence the behavior of other players to achieve their own interests.
The gaming mechanism brings a new mode of player interaction and value creation to full-chain games. However, it should also be noted that this gameplay may lead to some problems, such as economic imbalances and the phenomenon of the strong getting stronger. How to make it fun while maintaining fairness is an important challenge for full-chain game developers to face.
5/Operations and Marketing
Due to the characteristics of full-chain games, even small teams or low-cost developers may participate in game development. In this case, these small teams may not be able to invest a lot of budget in marketing activities. However, this does not mean that their games cannot reach the target audience. Full-chain games usually target very professional and specific audiences, who will actively seek out products that interest them, and they usually have their own communities to spread and share information through.
The operational strategies of full-chain games are also different from those of traditional blockchain games. Full-chain games focus more on the gameplay itself and the maintenance of technology. Their main operational focus is to ensure the stable operation of the game.
In contrast, traditional blockchain games focus more on using user gaming behavior to make profits. In this model, their marketing strategy mainly attracts and retains players by providing high-quality gaming experiences. In addition, the game’s economic model needs to have financial attributes. With institutional endorsement and platform support, it is possible to quickly establish a player community and expand its user base.
There are some significant differences in operation experience between full-chain games and traditional blockchain games.
Player involvement: Full-chain games usually emphasize more on player involvement and influence. For example, players may be able to influence game rules or development direction through voting or other methods.
Performance and scalability: Because all operations of full-chain games are executed on the blockchain, they may be limited by the performance and scalability of the blockchain. For example, if the blockchain network is busy, game transactions may take longer to confirm, which may affect the smoothness and real-time nature of the game.
Cost: Players of full-chain games may need to pay some fees for game transactions, which may vary due to the busyness of the blockchain network.
Important Full-chain Game Technologies
Zero-knowledge Proofs (ZKP) is a cryptographic principle that allows one person to prove to another person that a statement is true without providing any other information except this proof. That is, it is possible to prove that one knows some information or satisfies some conditions without disclosing any valid information.
In cryptography, zero-knowledge proofs involve three important concepts:
Completeness: If a statement is true, then there is always a proof method that makes the verifier accept the proof.
Soundness: If a statement is false, then no matter how the prover attempts, the verifier cannot accept the proof.
Zero-knowledge: If a statement is true, the prover can convince the verifier that it is true without revealing any additional information.
In blockchain games, zero-knowledge proofs have important applications. For example, the game Dark Forest uses zero-knowledge proofs. In this game, all game states are stored on the blockchain, which theoretically can be viewed by everyone. However, players may not want their strategies and resources to be seen by other players, and this is where zero-knowledge proofs come into play. Through zero-knowledge proofs, players can prove that they have made compliant game operations without revealing their specific strategies and resources.
Furthermore, due to the decentralized nature of the blockchain, zero-knowledge proofs can also be used to prevent cheating. In traditional centralized games, the game server performs cheating detection, while in blockchain games, this function can be achieved through zero-knowledge proofs. Since all game logic is executed on the blockchain, if someone tries to cheat, they need to prove that their operation is compliant without revealing any valid information, which is very difficult without sufficient computing resources and knowledge.
Overall, zero-knowledge proofs provide an effective privacy protection and anti-cheating mechanism for the design and implementation of blockchain games, ensuring the privacy of players and fairness of the game in the open and transparent environment of the blockchain.
A game engine is a core software component used to build and develop video games. They provide a range of tools and features for creating games, including graphics rendering, physics simulation, audio processing, animation, artificial intelligence, and more. With a game engine, game developers can focus on game design and gameplay without having to write all the underlying code from scratch. Famous game engines include Unity, Unreal Engine, and Godot.
Blockchain games, due to their complex blockchain interaction features, require special tools to help developers build and deploy game logic. In this field, some projects have shown considerable maturity, providing developers with powerful toolsets.
MUD, a Solidity-based blockchain game engine developed by Lattice Studio, is such a tool. It enables developers to easily and quickly deploy game logic to smart contracts and synchronize client-side and on-chain states, greatly improving development efficiency.
Another noteworthy project in the StarkNet ecosystem is Dojo, a full-chain game engine developed by the founders of Realms and Briq. Dojo is built on the Cairo language, which allows developers to quickly deploy game logic to smart contracts and includes features such as syncing with client states.
By utilizing these full-chain game engines, developers can create games that run on the blockchain faster and more efficiently, allowing for true decentralization and user asset ownership, and thus giving more possibilities to the game world.
In traditional chain game development, developers create structs and functions to read data, and release events to synchronize state with clients. They also adopt ERC20, ERC721, and ERC1155 standards to ensure interoperability between games.
In this context, MUD games borrow a software architecture pattern from traditional game development to maintain developer productivity as complexity increases in the relationships between game objects. This is the ECS (Entity/Component/System) architecture pattern, which is very effective when designing and managing a large number of objects in a game.
The pattern consists of three parts:
Entities: In ECS, each game object is treated as an entity. The entity is an abstract container that does not contain any data or behavior itself. Instead, the entity defines its properties and behavior by associating a set of components.
Components: Components are containers used to store data. All data is stored in the component, not the entity. Each component represents a specific attribute or behavior. For example, a “position” component might contain X and Y coordinates, while a “speed” component might contain the size and direction of the speed.
Systems: Systems are the part that handles behavior. They handle entities with specific components. For example, a “move” system may find all entities that have both “position” and “speed” components, and then update their position based on their speed.
The advantage of the ECS pattern is that it can improve game flexibility and performance. This makes it easier for developers to create and manage game objects with a variety of different attributes and behaviors.
MUD is an Ethereum-based application framework that greatly simplifies the complexity of building Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) applications through a tightly integrated software stack. It has built multiple game demos in a short period of time, including strategy games, simulation prototypes, 3D voxel games, and more.
Within the MUD framework, developers can create a chain-based ownerless data namespace called “Worlds”. Within this namespace, all objects are registered to a “World”, which are called “Entities.” Each entity has a numerical ID to uniquely identify it. For example, in a simple “World” like an ERC-20 contract, an entity might be an address. In a fantastical world full of flora and fauna, each type of flower or bird might have a unique entity ID.
To give these abstract entities concrete properties and behaviors, MUD employs a contract called “Component”. Anyone can register a new component contract on a “World” as long as the ID is unique. These components are small packets of data with types that can be attached to entities, giving them specific properties and behaviors.
Overall, MUD provides developers with a powerful and flexible framework for building and managing complex chain-based applications by creating Worlds (ownerless data namespaces), Entities (objects registered to a World), and Components (contracts that give entities specific properties and behaviors).
Dojo is a framework written in Rust and Cairo. It implements the ECS pattern and is an open-source full-chain game engine for Starknet that simplifies creating, managing, and scaling worlds without permission over time. Dojo is still in early development.
Cairo 1.0 Entity Component System (ECS)
Sozu migration planner
Torii network and index stack
Katana RPC development network
Full-Chain Game Case Studies
Dark Forest is a strategic blockchain game inspired by the “dark forest law” from the science fiction novel “The Three-Body Problem”. In the game, players enter a vast universe, explore surrounding galaxies, and attempt to expand their territories.
The game uses a cryptographic technique called “zero-knowledge proofs” (zk-SNARKs), which means that all game states are stored on the blockchain, but specific player actions are only visible to that player, creating a game environment that hides information on the public blockchain.
Let’s explore the gameplay of Dark Forest
Exploration and Discovery: At the beginning of the game, each player has a mother star surrounded by unexplored space. Players can send spacecraft to explore the area around their mother star and find new planets. Each planet has its unique resources and production capacity. Different types of planets may have different values, requiring players to use strategy to find the most valuable planets.
Resource Management: Each planet discovered has its resources and production capacity. Players need to carefully manage their planets to maximize resource production and utilization. This may involve decisions about how to allocate resources, how to balance resource flows between planets, and other issues.
War and Conquest: While expanding their own territory, players also need to prevent their planets from being attacked and occupied by other players. If a player’s planet is attacked, they must mobilize their army to defend it. Conversely, players can also choose to attack other players’ planets to expand their territory. The outcome of the war will depend on factors such as the number of troops, distance, and tactical strategies of both sides.
Zero-Knowledge Proof: Dark Forest uses zk-SNARKs cryptographic technology, and all game states are recorded on the blockchain. But specific player actions are only visible to the player. This means that players can secretly act on the public blockchain, such as secretly moving fleets or planning attacks.
Strategy and Game: Each action in the game can be seen as a game. Players need to constantly weigh various factors, such as resources, troops, planet production capacity, and other players’ possible actions, to develop the best strategy.
The design concept of Dark Forest is to create a player-driven game world through this combination of cryptography, strategic games, and economic models. In this world, players not only need to explore and occupy new planets but also constantly adjust their strategies in the game with other players to survive and develop.
Future Outlook for Full-Chain Games
The future development of full-chain games has tremendous potential and infinite possibilities.
With the continuous progress of cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, the technical foundation of full-chain games is also continuously improving and upgrading. This can not only promote the improvement of the gaming experience, but also may trigger innovation in game forms and modes.
In blockchain games, players can participate in the creation and decision-making of the game through mechanisms such as modifying game rules and adding new content. This participation not only enhances players’ gaming experience, but also helps game developers obtain more innovative ideas and feedback.
Overall, blockchain games can provide an open, fair, and transparent environment, and encourage player participation and innovation. Therefore, their innovation potential is far greater than that of traditional blockchain games. In addition, future blockchain games will create more core gameplay.