Chibi Fighters: an interview with Garry Runke
Garry is not afraid to call out scams in games, news and pre-sales. Read his brutal crypto predictions for 2019.
Gameunclus is back with his microphone and cassette recorder. This week he interviewed Garry Runke, the VFX guy behind Hollywood blockbusters such as War For The Planet Of The Apes, The Avengers, and X-Men First Class; and also for some flops like Prometheus. Hey, you win some, you lose some.
That’s right, Gameunculus is no longer a crypto gaming source; we are now a film blog. No of course not. It just so happens that Garry here left his glamorous La La Life behind to create the hit crypto game Chibi Fighters: #12 overall game in Dappradar, #1 TRON game, and #1 stick-it-to-the-man, tell-it-like-it-is team. Today, he let us pick his brains regarding crypto scams, game monetization, DAU vs. Volume, and how Chibis and TRON are doing things better than others. Here are some insight into one of the most candid and blunt dev minds out there.
Q: Are you still working with 3D and movies on the side, or did you actually quit everything and switch to full-time Chibi work?
After so many years I felt the need to change things up a little. Since I was little I enjoyed programming. While I never made it to becoming a "real" programmer, working in visual effects always required you to write your own tools. And one day I found my peace and decided to quit movies once and for all. Chibi Fighters is my 24/7 now.
Q: You’ve been pretty vocal in expressing your dissatisfaction with many current crypto games. What do you think successful crypto games will look like in 2019? What specific improvements do you wanna see in the industry?
As much as we all like gambling and pyramid schemes, neither can be called a game. 90% of crypto games would not even be approved on the Appstore if they were a normal game. I am not surprised one bit that the additional bonus of being a crypto game leads to iOS issues and mainstream disapproval.
What will we see in 2019:
a) 95% of blockchain studios will disappear. They are already failing on a daily basis; studios that are crazy enough to launch an ICO these days don't even make it to the end of the ICO. It's the crypto ice age.
Studios that had a great ICO end of 2017 will prevail, and how many did actually exit scam? Many. It's those buffoons that make it hard for credible developers to make a living. A huge portion is actually gaining trust of the community. How sad is that.
b) Game studios will never develop on the blockchain. Immutable code from EA? … Sure. For marketing purposes yes, of course, let's add a proxy contract. But even then, mainstream adoption is somewhere in the far future. Getting into crypto is way too difficult. Everything will go back to good old household names like SQL or MongoDB. Now, I am not saying that is the case for all blockchain applications. However, in terms of games, there is not a single reason to have the additional overhead and expense of a blockchain attached to it (for the exception to this, see c) ). Hybrids like Chibi Fighters are a model that might work, but even then it's a long shot.
Which brings me to the last point:
c) Money. Everybody loves money. Especially companies like Blizzard, EA, Wizards of the Coast. They seem to forget that players also like money. And this is where the biggest strength of the blockchain (in terms of games, not general purpose) comes in. True ownership. And this, by far, is the single biggest USP of blockchain.
With Blizzard making it impossible to trade cards in Hearthstone and now, following in those footsteps, Wizards of the Coast making their trading card game ... a NON trading card game … how do they even call it anymore.
Anyway, great opportunity for crypto card games. With the upcoming Zombie Battleground (imho a 1:1 clone of Hearthstone) the tides will turn. If I get exactly the same content, but I can actually sell, or even better buy great cards, why would I ever want to play the game that only takes money from me.
Q: When it comes to crypto games, do you think you can spot a scam before shit hits the fan? What are some red flags? Are there any crypto games out there now that you think are scams?
How to spot a scam. Not really possible tbh. 10,000 telegram users with 1 active person. Red flag. Mods that block you when you ask questions? Sealed deal, stay as far away as you can.
I am also not sure if people understand that Youtube reviews are bought. No one makes a video about your product for fun; sure, some tiny channels do, but every single bigger name wants money from you. None of these videos are trustworthy. And even worse, those videos that just scroll through your page and read the content. “Oh, yeah, it's those guys,” (reads text) “they worked on Bitcoin”, “oh this guy,” (reads text) “he was chairholder at Ripple.” Are you even serious? Just because it's written on their company page doesn't make it real!!!
But then my favorite type of scam, self published news. Do people actually understand that you simply pay for news and they are published? No one gives a goddamn thing about your news. You pay, you are news, you don't pay, no one gives a damn. Of course there are shining exceptions like BlockchainGamer and Cryptoandgamers (Crypto Gamers Community). Actually, most game portals are great in that regard. But as soon as you want to reach your audience, “0.7 BTC, write your news, we post it, thank you." So you can read a glorified news post on a big portal written by exactly that company telling you how they rock the market. Are you kidding me? What is this shit? And those are big news portals. For example, this .
I am not aware of any "scam" at the moment, but there are at least a dozen games out there that will just collect your money during pre-sale and bugger off with it.
As an example of how things are done, I want to mention our pre-sale on TRON. It has a function in it that will allow it for you to claim your TRX back if we don't get enough sales to hire a programmer. That's how a pre-sale should be done. Taking your money and not delivering a product, that is, simply put, fraud – and those people belong in front a judge, jury and execution. Those knob heads ruins it for everyone that is serious.
Q: What’s more important for you guys, DAU or volume?
DAU. I get approached on a daily basis by people promising me volume. You pay, they run their bots, volume, yay. Of course in a game like Chibi Fighters where most is played off chain it is really difficult to be in charts based on DAU, but generally DAU is more important than volume.
Q: Why did you guys choose to collaborate with Axie? Would a collaboration in which the Axies’ properties can affect the outcome of a Chibi’s battle be possible in the future?
We didn't collaborate with Axies. Everybody talks about cross game gameplay and how awesome it will be, but hardly anybody actually does anything. So we took Axies and integrated them. We had more success and way better feedback coming from team CryptoKitties. A random kitty you own might pop up when having a battle. Sometimes say hi on your account page. It received great feedback, players love them buggers. We are very open to integrating other game assets in one way or another and we are very supportive when it comes to other games using our assets. We have a very well documented API and fully working examples to get you started. Anybody could make their own simple game within a day easily.
Q: Why did you choose to support TRON instead of another chain?
Ease of use. They took everything Ethereum is doing wrong and made it better. At this stage I think it can outrun Ethereum.
Q: What is Opensea’s monetization scheme like? What do you have to do to get your assets on there?
? go to opensea -> my account -> my items -> select item -> sell :)
Q: What’s the smallest amount of money a player needs in order to start playing Chibi Fighters?
- Claim free Chibi off you go. It doesn't exist on chain but it is a fully working Chibi Fighter. You can go on adventures, the hunt, get loot, gear and even participate in daily tasks and the crystal cave. So you can make money immediately. I would buy a weapon though since you can't claim the weapon of a free Chibi. Only real Chibis come with a free weapon. They start at 0.01 ETH on OpenSea. But with some Chibis also starting at 0.01 ETH you could invest 0.02 ETH. Have a permanent Chibi Fighter (free is just temporary), Ether left for the TX to claim the free weapon and then Ether left to claim daily rewards.
Q: Which of the latest features added to the game is your favorite so far? (CryptoKitties, weapons, PvP). Considering the player’s experience, which of these adds the most value to the game in your opinion?
My favorite is still the Hunt. Sadly I have to code most of the day so I can't level a Chibi. But if I had a levelled Chibi Fighter, PvP would be great. Adding CryptoKitties was also a huge success, they pop up here and there and leave players smiling.
Q: A couple days ago, a Reddit user was wondering why you need to do a second pre-sale. What would you say to them?:
“Any thoughts on why they would need to do a second pre-sale? At the surface it seems like just a second ICO? This doesn’t sound like they are leaving ether to join tron but just simply adding their game to the tron network and having a second pre sale just because they can ... Example: an app is available on Android and then they also add it to iOS ... do they open up a second round of investing? I’m under the impression the company just ports it over I understand I am probably wrong”
When we originally launched it was just me and I was new to blockchain coding. Like most others I didn't want to sell a big bubble of bullshit. Once we crossed selling 2000 Founder token I stopped the pre-sale because I simply didn't have the infrastructure to be able to deliver a game that deals with so many players and Chibis.
In hindsight, the biggest mistake I ever made. While other games rank in millions of dollars and then just deliver some garbage, I believed in the other way around, first deliver, then get money for your hard work. Oh I am so blond.
This entire project runs on about $10,000 of pre-sale money. We perform a miracle on a daily basis.
Moving to TRON is not a simple thing. Yes, the blockchains are similar; but not identical. There is serious work required and maintaining two servers doesn't come for free either. Since TRON is completely separate from Ether, it is just fair that they have a shot at getting Founder token, too.
We have a function in our pre-sale contract that allows you to get every single invested TRX back if we don't manage to move to TRON – show me one dev that is that thoughtful.
There you have it folks: 95% of blockchain studios will disappear in 2019, game studios will never develop on the blockchain, pre-sales that take your money and run off with it should have their devs executed, paid news are a scam, size (a.k.a. volume) doesn’t matter, and Garry’s blond.
That’s all the information we could lure from Garry. Gameunculus hopes that some day he can get a satisfying answer regarding monetization schemes in marketplaces.