Cryptogaming experts share industry insights with Gameunculus
Gameunculus has reached out to cryptogames developers and blockchain gaming experts to ask them some questions with a purpose of making our service better and providing you, our fellow readers, with some not only entertaining but also useful reading. It will be a big article with no pictures, sorry!
Let us introduce our respondents.
Jonathan Tzou, CMO at Rupie
“Rupie uses blockchain tech to support game makers and content creators. We focus on helping devs finish the games they start”.
Bohdan Melnychuk, Lead Developer at Impera
“Impera World will be a blockchain based MMORTS game. It's goal is to not just be a game, but a sandbox for creating and exploring smart contracts”.
Gabby Dizon, Chairman and Co-Founder of Alto
“Alto is a platform that tries to go against the current business model of games, which heavily favors large game studios. We provide a platform where devs and players can create and sell items, making things level”.
Jiho, Axie Infinity Growth Lead
“Axie Infinity is not just a cryptocollectible, it’s got an interactive gameplay with unique battle system. And what else motivates people to play Axie is our friendly community, we’re like a family!”.
Yaron K, ExoPlanets
“We're almost all gamers here in ExoPlanets.io, we have a lot of ideas all the time, and as soon as a good one rises we all get riled up like little kids who found some chocolate”.
Matias Nisenson, Founder and CEO at Experimental
“Blockchain brings amazing benefits to the gaming industry. We are going to revolutionize the way people interact with digital assets. Users will be able to make a living out of blockchain”.
And here are the questions we asked and the answers we got.
What motivated you to work on blockchain and gaming / blockchain games? What's exciting about this industry for you?
Bohdan: First of all, with blockchain tech you can create decentralized games, fully managed by a community (which is not exactly what we've seem up till now in this space, even though the tech is available). Second, the idea of a horizontal donation system, where every in game asset is liquid and can easily be exchanged to real money. So there is no beneficiary that could ban the free market, dictate prices and receive personal profit from every donation.
Matias: The amazing benefits that the blockchain brigs to the gaming industry. We are going to revolutionize the way people interact with digital assets. Users will be able to make a living out of blockchain. What's exciting about this industry? Other than the benefits, amazing teams working day and night to make it grow.
Do you yourself play any blockchain games? Why, and based on what criteria do you choose which one?
Jonathan: Just Crypto Kitties, though it's not much of a game, more like trading cards. I haven't played blockchain games because a lot are still in development. And if I were to evaluate a blockchain game, I'd do it like I evaluate any centralized game: are the mechanics fun? Is the gameplay interesting? Does it remain interesting as the gave lives on? A blockchain game still needs to be, first and foremost, a good game. Without that core aspect, they won't interest me. Blockchain game devs still need to focus on the core mechanics of the game more. The general audience is still warming up to the idea of blockchain and gaming being merged. The blockchain part needs to be successfully and seamlessly integrated to the game mechanics – this integration needs to make sense within the game.
Bohdan: We've tried to play currently released games – we even bought one kitty. But we still don't understand why these apps are calling themselves games... There's nothing in them that's even closely related to the word game. We monitor all new projects in this area, and while we find it's easy to get anger because the blockchain game industry is collectibles only. You can develop these games on an industrial level, but this won't make the industry develop. These games are not implementing blockchain because of the idea of decentralization, but rather because it's a good marketing move. That's it. We don't like what blockchain games look like right now, so we're making our own. We just play Impera now, everybody should play Impera!
Gabby: Some. I have some friends who have their own blockchain games. Right now I’m looking forward to Neon District (https://neondistrict.io/). I’m currently playing Crypto Wars (by Experimental). DopeRaider looks good (https://doperaider.com/#/). I played Crypto Kitties in the beginning, Axie infinity in beta. The artwork is an important criterion for me. I chose Neon District for its amazing artwork. I also look for deep RPG elements. What I don't want to play is a game where I'm just trying to make money. I wanna play a game I enjoy, I like RPG, strategy. Infusing crypto into these games gives them certain properties. In the future I’d like to see games that have interoperability of digital property. I'm not sure if right now there's games with interoperability. Alto launched a contest to develop games that have interoperability.
Jiho: I used to play Crypto Kitties and was one of the top players there. I used to search the market and breed my kitties for 20 hours every day. Now I play only Axie Infinity.
Yaron: We're currently focused on developing ExoPlanets. We wish we had time to play.
Matias: I’ve tried them all but none of them is engaging enough to play it long term. I believe in the next months we’ll see some more engaging games.
Do you watch game contract addresses? What do you watch out for?
Bohdan: I do not watch specifically game contracts, but I do watch Ethereum smart contracts in general to search for bugs, since I'm an informatics security specialist. Have you heard about ZeroNights ICO Hacking Contest? I actually won first place.
Gabby: In general, not really, but I guess what's interesting is to see the movement of assets in a game. Some people look at addresses and watch for the movement of items, but I like to see the big picture. Smart contracts are more for strategy games, games in which you need a competitive advantage. Having a transparent economy is interesting, and smart contracts enable this. It’s not easy to read a SC though, you need tools to understand it. I recommend Crypto Zombies for starting on solidity.
Matias: I don’t watch them directly. I watch out for daily active users and ether volume on the contract.
In your opinion, what makes a blockchain game a scam?
Bohdan: I'd mention the difference between decentralized games and blockchain games; blockchain-based does not necessarily mean its decentralized. Our goal is to really make decentralized games, with no administrations that can push freeze buttons, like in Crypto Kitties. They have a transparent centralization. They're just using blockchain for marketing, because it's very popular nowadays. That's why UGSCs are our main feature, which allows people to make agreements between each other, about their game assets, about what's gonna happen in the game... You could even make your own bank on Impera, and you could migrate this over to the real world. Our project is a sandbox for this concept.
Gabby: Yeah, we call games with pyramid scheme elements “hot potato” games. They're bad for the industry, people get burned, it encourages speculation, and we wanna encourage thoughtful games, not this kind of thing. For example Crypto Allstars was trying to make money off famous twitter handles; it got shot down after. Peer-to peer trading is good, not hot potato type item selling.
Matias: Hot potato games are definitely a scam and many other pyramid systems. Is there a consensus in the industry? Yes, I believe serious developers think alike.
Jonathan: It's a scam if developers promise, take money, and then never deliver. I don't think the Etherbots pyramid mechanic is normal. If it's a driving mechanic of the game it sounds like a terrible mechanic, and it's not sustainable. It's important to design a platform for growth, and if value keeps being diluted like that, the game won't grow. It's not a real game mechanic, it's a messed up game mechanic that focuses on rewarding the people on top, the devs, and not on rewarding the players.
Where do you communicate with the blockchain/game community?
Gabby: Cryptogamegroup Telegram channel, it’s the largest, with over 500 people. I like that everyone is a game developer there, and everyone’s helping each other advance the scene together. It’s collaborative and challenging, people are helpful.
Jonathan: For checking up on blockchain gaming we use @cryptogamegroup on Telegram.
Bohdan: Cryptogamers group, on Telegram.
Matias: Telegram, discord groups, Wechat.
Yaron: We help other game developers who turn to us for questions or advice, and we're also a part of a game developers chat that has all the biggest games devs there, but we're less active in that group due to the lack of time to go through messages and get involved in real time.
What feature is currently missing in your favourite dapp listing website?
Bohdan: Well, on GameUnculus and on other resources, I see only the top blockchain games by transactions, but we don't really see any expert reviews, we'd like that.
Yaron: I'd love to have the option to identify as the game developer and have editing rights on my game's page in their website so I wouldn't have to turn to them for every little editing request.
Gabby: Session times. DAU can be misleading, because we have no clue if these users are playing for hours or just a couple minutes. Number of transactions is interesting: are they buying 1 thing for 10 eth, or 20 small things for half an eth? And I’d like to see whether there are any in-game currencies that have a high volume besides ETH?
Jihoz: It will be useful to provide guides and instructions like “how to start playing a game”. Contests between games and between players will attract more users, and both games and listing sites would benefit from that.