The Oasis Twitter Spaces session on February 7 was an amazing opportunity to learn about the recent growth and future potential of the Web3 gaming industry. Two veterans of the crypto gaming industry – @cryptoblades & @samuraiverse – joined Oasis to chat about everything Web3 gaming. For anyone who missed the conversation, this article provides a summary of the conversation using paraphrases of the guests’ own words. If you prefer to listen to the recording, find it here.
Now let’s dive into the first topic…
Differences between Web3 and Traditional Gaming
A key aspect of Web3 gaming to explain to a mainstream gamer is that blockchain gaming is ownership. And this is a manifest throughout GameFi with the fact that you can own NFTs in your wallet and have a say where it goes and nobody can touch it. That is a game changing element towards gaming and gamers will need to understand what the value and benefits of this are.
From the perspective of a game development studio or just game development in general, moreover, all of the smart chain logic lives in a decentralized place. Much of what is on public non-privacy based blockchains, other developers can iterate on what other people have been able to produce extremely rapidly. Some examples of this come from the many flavors of decentralized exchanges. Web3 has also seen it with the many flavors of decentralized games.
This openness rapidly impacts the creation and iteration of ideas in a way that gamers haven’t seen in a long time. In effect, it’s basically like “open source plus plus” because anyone can take it and run with it. And this openness is likely one of the reasons why Web3 gaming has seen such rapid growth due to all of the very rapid prototyping and extensions of all the existing game file applications.
Difficulties of Building Games in Web3
From the perspective of game development, one of the biggest difficulties is the simple fact that all of the tooling is still so immature. And it’s obviously one of the reasons why developers are working on making better tools – there’s a big need and also a big opportunity for better tools. The things developers might expect in regular software development or game development just don’t exist in blockchain gaming. It takes much longer and it’s much more expensive to make things that are far simpler or far less developed than in traditional gaming. But these gaps will eventually be filled, and the industry will likely start to see a lot more competition with the traditional gaming field as well.
From the gamer side, there are still so many obstacles to adoption. The industry needs better onboarding systems, better profile systems, and so many other things that people take for granted. Gamers need standards across games. If someone onboards to one game it should be easy to onboard to another one and so on.
What the Guests are Building Now
For accuracy, this section contains the direct transcript from the Oasis Twitter Space.
Yannic (Samurai Legends): “We’re building a game called Samurai Legends. And the best comparison is we’re basically trying to build EVE Online, on blockchain technology in feudal Japan. That is what we are creating. And for those that do not know EVE online. It’s a sci-fi MMORPG mass multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. But our game, somewhat alleged it’s focused on the grand strategy elements. For instance, creating armies, conquering lands, etc. And this also includes like ownable NFTs like units as well as equipment, lands, those are integral elements of the game.
There are only very few MMORPG , real MMORPG. One of them is like a reference EVE Online where everybody really is on one server. And why is that? Because it’s really difficult to get that amount of players and that amount of data on one server layer. On blockchain technology, this is the opposite actually. You can create an environment on a single instance and that is a real benefit and that’s something that has not yet been explored in any gaming project thus far to a large scale. So yeah, it really gives us the opportunity to create a virtual nation where everybody really is in the same environment experiencing the same world. So yeah, that’s what we are building.
To clarify, it is player versus player, meaning that there is a combat game that we are making, actually already our alpha testing right now with a small team of testers. Which is basically an instance that if two war bands or two small armies collide, they come into this PVP instance which is off-chain, meaning that the game is played, you got a player versus player, you have to place your units strategically and try to outsmart the opponent. And when you win, you get their loots, you take away their treasure essentially and you can move on and try to harass other war bands, essentially. So yeah, just to clarify, war bands consist of units and these units can, for instance, be samurais, can be archers, ninjas, etc. We have, I think, about 12 units in total, 12 different unit types.”
Philip (Crypto Blades): “Even from day one with Crypto Blades, our goal was to create an entirely on-chain game, partly because by doing so, we allow every aspect of the game and ecosystem to benefit from the owner ability and transferability and earning potential of the crypto ecosystem. So because all of our characters and items live on-chain. All of those can be traded, all of those can be used for earning in various ways. And how that has developed from the very first version of Crypto Blades, which was released in May of 2021, where it was basically just by an NFT, click on combat and then that combat was awarded a certain amount of our native skill token.
Since then, it’s grown to a very large ecosystem and very large player base across 9 different chains where we have 60,000 monthly active users across all of our chains. And users can do a variety of things now. For example, we have a completely on-chain questing system, which is open to going out and discovering any kind of NFT sort of a find and retrieve quest. We also have built our own technology for utilizing and moving and transferring all of the NFTs.
So for example, our own NFT bridge, our own NFT marketplace, our own token bridge. And that’s actually been probably one of the keys to our success because our players don’t have to wonder where to go to do certain things. They can just do it all within this one ecosystem, which sort of transitions into what we’re offering now, which is any game that just wants to build the gamified experience of which there’s a lot of really cool, just like what Samurai Legends was just describing that they can work on building that amazing experience and then have all of the NFT and token and reward systems and mobility all handled to the point where our end goal is that the players don’t even have to know or realize that their assets are living on the blockchain, they can just benefit from earning.
They can benefit from transferring, they can benefit from all being on one server, which I think was a really cool thing that the SamuraI legends team was describing. So that’s really kind of our end goal is our players in front row seats to this ecosystem and have helped us build it along the way and benefited from it. And now they get to see that be utilized across 40, 50 or the next 100 blockchain games that build on top of the technology that we built.”
Why Confidentiality Matters for Gaming
Confidentiality matters because one player cannot let the player know what decision they’re going to make before they make it. Regarding an integration with Sapphire, two large game aspects are helped. First, these specific games (e.g., Samurai Legends) want everybody on the same game server and everyone’s position on the world map to be somehow recorded on the blockchain.
So, using something like Sapphire is used to create a sort of fog of war aspect. Instead of being able to say, “We can see that Yannic’s Army is over there, so I’m going to go a different route,” players won’t be able to see anyone until they are within so many squares of them. Especially with strategy games, having several layers of confidentiality really adds to the strategy. Certain things need to be unpredictable and secret. And Sapphire enables that.
From the game side and the platform side, moreover, there are always limitations when everything is readable and open. But with tools like Sapphire, game developers can essentially offload all of the privacy focus features directly to Sapphire for all of the chains the game is built on.
Confidentiality with Gaming NFTs
When designing a Web3 game, developers try to address every decision with the current industry standards. But when building an on-chain PVP game, for example, some level of privacy is essential. And with NFTs inside that game, confidentiality of NFT metadata can easily play into a better experience and value for the players. But even if the use cases are not immediately obvious, protecting the data of gamers’ NFTs is a consideration for every developer.
Using the Oasis Privacy Layer in Web3 Games
In Samurai Legends, for example, the clan mechanic basically needs a Privacy Layer to function. So, the feature supports a clan as a DAO, and voting takes place. Voting means that certain decisions are automatically implemented or are communicated. And this Privacy Layer is a necessity since everything happens on-chain. But with the fog of war elements, moreover, gaming developers need that Privacy Layer to keep confidential where other players are. It’s a necessity that supports game development with relative ease.
There are still many benefits to the open data and the open development nature of Web3 gaming. But a privacy layer like OPL allows developers to choose what should be public and what should not. Someone may want the siding on their house to be public, for example. But they don’t necessarily want their bathroom to be public. So flexible privacy for Web3 gaming – and lots of other blockchain-related projects – is important. People may want to know more about a game’s bridging or its NFT marketplace, so those things can be made public for players to verify. But those same players may not want certain information to be shared with everybody. So, these choices open up a whole new world for gaming, which is massively helped by Sapphire.
The Future of Web3 Gaming
One key technology game developers are paying lots of attention to in general is zero-knowledge roll-ups. The basic idea is to take lots of interactions and “roll them up” into a single transaction. This cuts down on gas fees and simplifies the user experience, which has been a big roadblock for adoption. But in general, another main focus is building more of a standard across games. The technology is good, but the industry needs to have someone make a standard that all gaming studios implement. Maybe this happens through ENS, the Ethereum Name System, where everybody has a certain profile and everyone integrates it. Or maybe it happens another way. But it will help the whole space quite a lot.
Decentralized storage is another particularly interesting area. Right now, it’s not exactly feasible, especially from something like a gaming perspective, where players need to have access to, at times, rather large assets. If those are living in a centralized place, then there is no possibility of actually owning that metadata and the actual data that’s on-chain. In general, this will start to open up even more complex applications being stored on the blockchain. So, the space will start to see computing space increase and storage increase and more complex applications that are able to live on the blockchain. These changes will make things more flexible for developers and also allow for more powerful applications to run on the blockchain itself.
This idea is also very similar to the Oasis Privacy Layer in that it presents a modular approach to applications. All these things are needed to create more sophisticated smart contracts. So, why not offload privacy to Oasis and maybe offload storage to their IPFS. The next stage in blockchain development includes all of these different components, which can exist interoperably but are not native to one chain. But they can also be accessed from any chain and help products and applications scale and become more sophisticated.
Upcoming Events and Ecosystem Campaigns
Samurai Legends is currently in the process of launching their PPP and are busy with the alpha testing over the coming months. Also, the team is planning a lot of launches in the near future and anyone who follows the project closely in the near future will likely see a sale that gives great opportunities to enter the ecosystem via NFTs.
Crypto Blades is excited to begin implementing some privacy focused features on Sapphire. And for anyone who is a developer looking to fast track their growth or free up some of your space to work on actual games, the team has some integrations that are available to just help speed up that process. For example, a team can be live on nine different chains with NFT marketplace integration, token bridging, NFT bridging, tokenomics as a service, etc.