Blockchain gaming: putting the state on-chain

State of the art: current blockchain games

To say that I’m excited about the future of blockchain gaming is an understatement. In this article I’m going to lay out what I’d like to see from future blockchain games.

Plasma Dog: An in-game shot I took while playing.

The current model of online games

Some of the most popular games today allow you to play alongside hundreds of other people in an online world. At the core of these games is the ability to be involved in shared experiences such as cooperative tasks and storytelling.

  • Players fighting with and alongside other players.
  • Earning experience points to improve character abilities.
  • Collecting and spending in-game currency.
  • Collecting and purchasing items (including wearing such items).

Problems of ownership

I hold a deep appreciation of developers to create and maintain great games, but there are problems with the current model. All of this activity and its associated value are ‘locked’ into silos. All game data is owned by the development company and stored in centrally hosted databases. This is a peer-to-server relationship.

An in-game shot from EVE Online (Source: Wikipedia)

Problem of action verification

In the previous section I outlined the fact that online games are entirely reliant upon the development company. All game data had to be stored in centrally hosted databases (peer-to-server model). This architecture was necessary given what technology has been available hiterto.

Elite: Dangerous has allows for some P2P data transfer but doesn’t do proper consistency checks (AFAIK!) (Source: Tobii)

A new model for future online games

It should be obvious given what we know of blockchain technology that these problems are solveable. The architecture for the solution I am envisaging would be similar to Polkadot: the use of state transition functions to update the game state and the use of state transition verification functions to verify that the update provided was correct. Refer to my article: Preparing to build on Polkadot.

Parity Technologies recently released Substrate v1 beta.

Up next….

In the next post I delve into the idea of putting the game state on-chain. I propose how to build a simple online RPG game. I also discuss how I think Polkadot can be used to power the future of online games.

About me

Currently, I work at the Web3 Foundation, covering numerous responsibilities (such as security and communications). This blog is of a personal nature. It just so happens that my hobby aligns with work.

Questions / Comments?

You can create a reply to me here on Medium, or reach out to me on Twitter: @EAThomson.

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