ZKML 🤝 Gaming | Skill Tree #19
The 1st on-chain AI game
Hear me out: On-chain AI chess
Leela makes use of AI to determine moves, with ZK proofs being used for verification that a move hasn’t been tampered with.
Players can a) vote on moves against the AI by staking and b) bet on the AI or the human players to win
Leela vs the World is a showcase of ZKML by Modulus Labs, and how it can be used in autonomous worlds.
You can play the game here
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Autonomous Worlds
Link - An overview of what’s happening in on-chain gaming
The potential impact of open economies on games UA
I published some thoughts on how UA might be different for web3 games compared to web2 as interactions between players become more important in open economies.
As games become more open economies, interactions between different players (player types) move to the center of attention. UA may have to target specific player types to support economic balance.
An economy works under certain assumptions. For example, player group A is mining resources and group B is using these resources for crafting. Both groups need to be in a ratio to one another within a certain range.
Moving the ratio outside of this range makes it improbable that the economy recovers back into a sustainable state where it fluctuates along an equilibrium over time.
In this case, UA needs to take a more holistic approach, analyzing the ratio of player segments and their value flows. While a player group might show LTV < CAC (e.g. P2E players), it may take on important functions within the game, without which other (spending) groups leave.
A comparison would be dating apps where you need to balance the marketplace of supply and demand (sounds unromantic sorry) wrt gender, age, location, interests/beliefs, ...
Insights into indie game marketing
Tape to Tape, a 90s-style hockey game, quietly made $600k in a week. This is between major AAA releases like Jedi: Survivor and Zelda: TOTK.
While many web3 games and players focus on Twitter, the title achieved this with only 3000 followers.
How did they do it?
catered to a niche with little competition and provided the best experience possible for them (controls, depth). For depth, the team added a roguelike meta game
Hockey is popular in Canada and the US, making the audience size attractive. The game is modelled after NHL 94, making it easy and fun to pick up. At the same time, the meta game provides depth, which is what Steam players like.
took their fans seriously and directly showed that by refining the demo based on feedback (show, don’t tell)
long pre-launch campaign that ensured to touch the target group the required amount of time (~7) to persuade them
First social media posts started in spring 2021, ~2 years before launch
the team used different channels, from Kickstarter, to events, social media, steam page, etc.
Steam Next Fest got them 27k wishlists. they supported it with paid ads to increase wishlist velocity and get a better placement on the steam page
shortly (4 hours) after launch, Tape to Tape got featured on the steam popup modal after showing a good conversion rate from wishlist to purchase. Keep in mind: It’s key to get qualified wishlists that convert well
Link (Youtube interview)
Brooks made a Minecraft mod to test the original idea
Death in video games currently has no real consequences
In NOR, the player is putting their player character, a mirror of themself, at risk. This changes their behavior and the emotions associated with every game
Making the player character usable across games compounds these feelings
NOR separates the game from the economy (meta game), similar to how everyone can play football but FIFA exists as the meta economy
Spenders and F2P player don’t play the same game. NOR makes that more visible
This allows games to monetize different aspects of a game (e.g. streaming rights, leagues) but not the game/gamer
The separation goes so far that players can buy skins which don’t show up in the game to not fuck with the game balance, but in stream so they can build their own personality. By removing game design limitations for skins, it gives the skin economy more freedom (and potential to monetize)
Incentives aren’t aligned at the moment. For example, streamers can play games and make money off of it; games don’t gain from it (directly). Streamers are not necessarily motivated to step up their broadcasting as they’re mostly advertising a game for free
Nor is working on a streaming system that tokenizes certain aspects, for example instant replays, a unique camera, etc. to build an economy around that