Blockchain is a subversive Internet infrastructure. This subversion is reflected in the fact that it can build a low-cost asset trading function for all walks of life, so that assets can flow more easily. The financial industry itself has virtual attributes, and the blockchain naturally supports financial characteristics, so the financial industry itself has become the first industry to implement the blockchain. However, the game industry also has a similar virtual nature. The developers of blockchain have done a lot of exploration in the game, among which the virtual open world game similar to “my world” is the most popular. This paper is a live speech of TVP teacher Chen Hao to share how blockchain creates a different virtual open game world. “TVP enjoy” column, condenses the thinking of big names, gathers experts to share, gains new ideas, and welcomes long-term attention.
1、 The predecessor of blockchain world game
The development of virtual open world games has been a long way off. With the combination of blockchain, it is full of vitality. Starting from the games we played, here are three kinds of games: alpha city of Douban, my world, oasis in the number one player.
Douban alpha city is not a game in a strict sense, but a social virtual community. Although it has some game concepts, it is still social. This is a relatively small community with only 80000 users as of March 2015, which is quite small for the size of the whole Internet.
But it is such a game, it brings some new concepts, the streets do the concrete. Players can enter into the community. The streets they live in are all concrete. Players can open small shops, bakeries, Civil Affairs Bureau and matchmaking agency inside. It is a completely virtual mirror community, simulating the real world. It’s also an open community where users can create freely.
At present, “my world” is the world game with the largest number of users and players and the highest market value. It is a highly free and open pixel square game, players can explore in this world. Unlike traditional games, there are mission objectives, replicas and main lines. There are no direct mission objectives here. The greatest fun for players is to make some buildings and complete some simple small tasks. This game is open source level, users can change to the source level, which will bring a very large-scale game volume of creation, that is, the user’s creation and exploration.
In this game, there is a red stone system, players can do their own works based on the red stone system. For example, it’s OK to make a MCU, a calculator, or even a game, which greatly releases the imagination of the players. In this game, players can do whatever they want to do, the limit is only their own imagination. In fact, it is also a virtual world game. The works that players see are assets that can be shared with other players.
In 2018, Spielberg directed a movie – number one player, in which there is a game called oasis. Oasis can be said to be an upgraded version of the two games mentioned above, or a complete version. The game is completely open, players can do a lot of things in it. For the game itself, there are also some features. For example, it has a free economic system. The game currency obtained by players in the oasis can be used to trade in reality. For example, the leading player’s upgraded somatosensory device is obtained by playing games.
It can be said that oasis game has broken through the boundaries between the virtual and real world. Users can enter into a completely virtual open world, have their own avatar, use the avatar to create and explore more game content.
The three games mentioned above basically emphasize the concept of user creation and exploration.
2、 Virtual open games on blockchain
Let’s begin with a formal introduction to a world game on the blockchain: cryptovoxels.
Strictly speaking, it’s not like a traditional type of game. First of all, it does not have a strict sense of the game operation, its pixel style looks even more primitive, and its overall gameplay is not particularly high. I prefer to call it a platform. It’s an open platform where players can do a lot of things. The interesting part of this game is called creative space, in which there are many players who play their own artistic creativity, build and enjoy in the game, and have common language works in specific communities and circles.
In this game, players can also socialize. Relatively speaking, its current social interaction is relatively primitive, more like a concept than a service in a strict sense. Players can do whatever they want to do in the game, such as calling on everyone to have a dance, calling on everyone to take group photos and so on. Many elements in the game require players to take the initiative to drive community members or group members to complete together.
In addition to the above features, it also has some other features, which will involve some features on the blockchain.
(1) Transaction of original assets
What users create is actually an asset. For example, the player has made a single-chip microcomputer in my world. Such a system is actually a game asset created by the player and can be traded. Although it is difficult in my world, it can be done in the blockchain world.
In the early days, many people were talking about a concept called asset display, which refers to mapping some assets in the real world onto the blockchain. However, with the development of the blockchain, for example, some popular games on the blockchain have evolved the original assets of the blockchain. The original assets created by users on the blockchain also have certain value. As long as they are recognized by the community consensus, they can be used for trading.
(2) Community development
When players go to create a work and make a very interesting thing, they are actually developing together with the community. Cryptovoxel is actually created based on the community. It does not have much gameplay in itself. It is basically driven by users, and has gradually formed a consensus in the community.
It can also be said that the game itself has no value. Only when you really integrate into the community circle of the game, will you find more content and become fond of the game. This is the characteristic of the game given by the blockchain: the common development of the community.
(3) Based on blockchain
In this game, land needs players to buy. If you want to own a piece of land, you have to buy it with digital currency. And this game is based on Ethereum, so players have to take their own Ethereum to buy land.
After obtaining the land, the next player can do whatever he wants to do in the game. There is also a feature here: the land purchased will be permanently recorded by the blockchain. That is to say, this land belongs to the player permanently and cannot be destroyed.
In fact, the number of users and the scale of the transaction of this game are not large in the circle, but its derivative significance is relatively strong, which gives a lot of blockchain practitioners a very good inspiration.
The land in the game can be used for auction and rent, while in other games, game planning and design may be needed. This game itself has such a land trading system. Players can buy the land from the distributor, and then rent it to others. All trading activities go through an open trading market.
In addition to the land itself, players can also create works on the land and auction their own works. Blockchain also provides players with diversified personalized social access. The home of social networking was first personal website, then blog, then circle of friends and microblog, and now short video and vlog. So, what kind of personalized social entry will be next? It’s likely that everyone has an avatar system on the blockchain, as shown in cryptovoxels. The avatar system is not just a game, it can do everything you want.
3、 On token and NFT trading market
As mentioned earlier, the land is registered on the blockchain, and the token is used to view and verify the ownership of the player’s land on the blockchain. The public trading information of land is displayed on the opensea website. It is a third-party open trading market, which does not belong to this game. The token of land resources can be traded on opensea.
What is a token? Blockchain is a relatively professional term, which can be translated into token or token. It is actually a relatively open tool, representing some object or some event. It can be regarded as a symbol, or a value mark. As a kind of value mark, token is classified
1. Homogeneous token
When trading in the open secondary market, the subject matter of trading is basically homogeneous token. How to understand?
For example, currency, securities and gold are homogeneous tokens. In the simplest sense, they are used without specific distinction. For example, the 100 yuan note in my hand and the 100 yuan note in your hand are not distinguished when they are used, as long as the face value it represents is 100 yuan. Because it is homogeneous, we can extend the definition of it as a standard asset, and its other property is high liquidity. The so-called high liquidity is easy to be accepted by the market and sold, which is usually determined by a wide range of social consensus. The most typical is the cash on hand. Cash is always easy to buy and trade. If you have a lot of physical assets on hand, such as 100 excavators, it is difficult to find the other party to buy your excavators. Therefore, homogeneous token usually has the characteristics of high liquidity, and its value is basically relatively stable.
2. Non homogeneity token (NFT)
Corresponding to the homogeneous token is NFT: non homogeneous token, which is called non functional token in English. Heterogeneous token is related to the games we mentioned earlier. The land that we just mentioned can be traded and the works created by players are actually heterogeneous tokens.
In general, it is a non-standard asset. For example, common collectibles, game items, digital artworks, event tickets or domain names, and ownership records of physical assets can be considered as non-standard assets.
Its biggest feature is uniqueness. For example, there is a painting in my family, which is unique in the world. If you also have one in your family, then one of them must be fake, which shows the uniqueness of this value mark. In fact, its liquidity is relatively low. If there is a small range of community consensus, it is more convenient to flow in the circle, but it is often more difficult to get out of the circle, which will bring higher identification costs.
In the past two years, a-chasing shoes is actually a kind of non-homogeneous token. When shoes are traded in the secondary market, it also has a function called identification, which is endorsed by the main body of the trading market to generate a certificate for your products.
Non homogeneous token has low liquidity, and its corresponding value fluctuation is also relatively large. What is determined by the corresponding sales threshold or sales ability is also determined by supply and demand. Most of the time, it is not necessary to distinguish each asset and determine its uniqueness. For example, when we do bulk commodities, we actually focus on a certain kind or a certain batch of goods. For example, the quality of a container of shoes is basically similar. When we mark them, we can mark the container directly, instead of marking each shoe. It is necessary to simplify the business. This is the derived concept of non functional with classes.
(1) Six characteristics of NFT
There are two main types of NFT that have been practiced or used on the blockchain:
The first category is: scarce resources and roles in the game. Just like the land mentioned above, it is a kind of scarce resources.
The other is the unique scarce resources created by people in the blockchain world. For example, we can use NFT to mark the digital artworks created by players in the game.
From the perspective of token acquisition, it may involve the token issuing mechanism. Taking the cryptovoxels game mentioned above as an example, players directly go to the game developer to buy land, and the token of the land belongs to the player. Another kind is created by players, such as building personalized houses on the land. This is an asset created by players. In other words, the asset is increased and more valuable because of the work of players. At this time, we can also consider selling the land and the house together to carry out a circular transaction.
In addition, NFT trading also has a third-party standardized trading place, rather than the game developers we imagine. It has nothing to do with the game operators, or even nothing to do with it. It is a pure NFT trading market. As for who the buyer is, users do not care, as long as the price is reasonable, in line with psychological expectations can trade. At present, there are many third-party standardized trading places in the blockchain industry.
Another feature of NFT is its strong traceability. No matter how many times it is traded in the third-party market, it can trace back to the origin of token. At most, the workload of program loading or optimization is a little more. Traceability also brings NFT a feature, that is, its identification cost is reduced. As long as you find the initial appraiser or the intermediate appraiser, the objects represented by the token, or digital artworks, must be true, which everyone can supervise.
The main feature of NFT is standardization, that is, the standardization of assets.
Whether it’s the assets created in the game or the standardized registration of the assets under the chain, the significance of standardization is to get through each other and complete the transaction more conveniently. The tradability is reflected in that NFT can now easily appear in the third-party trading market and trade freely.
Also because of the third-party trading market, its liquidity has become higher. Because of its traceability, it brings the characteristics of invariance. The online virtual assets represented by token will never change. Unless the asset is further modified, it sends a new asset again, so that it is not the same mark as the original asset. This proves that the assets created by users, whether they are game characters or works, are scarce. The standardization and inheritability of NFT will be described in more detail below.
(2) NFT Market
The third-party market mentioned above is called opensea, which is the global market for digital collections and NFT, including erc721 and erc1155 assets. Erc721 and erc1155 are actually one kind of standardization protocols. The NFT asset standardization protocol on the Ethereum blockchain usually refers to these two protocols. Erc1155 is downward compatible with erc72i, so many Ethereum development communities in many industries usually use 1155 protocol!
Opensea is a very open trading market. As long as you have Ethereum’s address and Ethereum wallet, you can trade on it.
The second is superrare, which is a decentralized digital art market based on Ethereum IPFs. On the blockchain, if works of art such as paintings are created in a virtual and digital way, they can be sold on the blockchain.
The third is rare bits, which is also an NFT trading market. But it is not limited to art trading. People can buy and sell a lot of NFT on it.
In fact, their service content is basically the same. They all serve the Ethereum blockchain. In fact, there is a lot of competition space to distinguish the NFT trading market on the chain. For example, the services provided by opensea and superrare may be slightly different in industry categories, but their service contents are quite similar. Superrare and know origin, their service content is also in a competitive relationship. So if we want to do such a trading market now, there are many competitors. Similar to the history of Internet development, if you want to advance, you must catch up with the industry and create such a scene to import users.
Blockchain can help you complete half of all the work, which corresponds to the diversion work. It doesn’t need to spend a lot of manpower to gain customers. Now we just need to set up the trading market, and then put it out. Basically, there will be users to buy and sell in your vertical trading market. The establishment and prosperity of NFT trading market has also greatly promoted the development of blockchain industry!
4、 Blockchain injects new imagination into the game industry
Next, let’s focus on the differences between the concepts of standardization and inheritability brought about by blockchain? What kind of path can it develop into in the future?
The concept of game asset standardization can be understood in this way. If we use the traditional way of game distribution, the land in the game belongs to the game operators, and there may also be super management roles. In fact, it also proves that a lot of games are independent, and the developed games have their own standards. The whole game ecology is actually closed and has nothing to do with other games. Traditional games will be restricted by game planning, while games on blockchain will not be restricted by anyone. Basically, the community can do whatever it wants. So the standardization of game assets gives us some new ideas. If the game assets are standardized, it will give players and users more creativity and liquidity, and make the game more open. Secondly, the assets in the game can be traded in a third-party trading place.
Standardization of game assets should be the biggest point brought by blockchain to the game industry. Most of the assets in the game should be NFT. There are different protocols on different blockchains. For example, on Ethernet, erc721 and erc1155 mentioned above are MIT protocols, which are open standards.
Any game has an expected life cycle. From online to the end, the whole community can’t play the game any more, and the number of players is gradually reduced, and finally it is closed. Game player‘s life basically has the sense of no involvement in the design and development of the game, and basically has the final say in game planning.
If the game is closed at last, the record that the player once played in the game will disappear. There is also a typical two-dimensional wall phenomenon, that is, everything created in the game has nothing to do with real life.
The games on the blockchain are very different. The game on the blockchain depends on the community. As long as there are people in the community who want to play, the game will continue. As long as the community wants to develop it, the game will continue to develop without end. As long as the community remains, the life of the game will be long.
A typical example is “my world”. The game life cycle of “my world” is very long, which benefits from its openness. And the players’ sense of participation is also enhanced, and it is up to the players to decide how to play the game.
In addition, game data can be saved permanently, and blockchain can record players’ game assets permanently. As mentioned above, the game assets created by users can be directly traded and purchased with digital currency. In fact, they have begun to break the boundary between the virtual world and the real world.
For example, in the number one player, the protagonist’s game somatosensory device is obtained by playing the game. It has been able to do such things on the blockchain, which is also the future development trend.
Playing games on the blockchain does not mean that traditional methods must not be used. It’s wrong to ignore the traditional way of playing games. We need to combine it.
As shown in the figure below, the figure on the left is the traditional game network topology. First of all, there is a user terminal app, which connects to the server, and the bottom layer is the database. On the right side, after joining the blockchain technology, in addition to connecting to your own database, you also need to connect to the blockchain. You can choose which blockchain to use, and then put the data on it according to the NFT asset standardization agreement.
This involves the concept of metadata, and it is not necessary to put all the game assets on it. For example, you don’t need to put all the art resources of the game on it. It’s easy to burst the blockchain, so it’s not advisable.
As long as some key parameters in the game, such as the ownership of the game and the basic characteristics of game props, are passed on, this is metadata, as small and comprehensive as possible. The rest of the art resources and other data can still exist in the database.
So if blockchain is to be applied to the game industry, it doesn’t have to throw away all the original things. It just needs to add blockchain. The previous article only talked about one operator, the playability of the game is actually not enough. To this end, we introduce a number of game operators, as shown in the figure below:
On the left is a game operator and on the right is B game operator. The current situation of traditional games may be as follows: suppose that both a and B game operators operate two games and have two servers. It can be seen that there is basically no relationship between a game operator and B game operator, even if there is a relationship, it may only be a payment relationship. For example, the user may generate a payment in the game, and all access to the third-party intermediary platform, such as payment institutions, registration institutions, etc. It’s a very weak relationship that has little to do with the game itself. If the intermediary is removed, there will be no impact on the game itself. If the two game operators join the blockchain, the following topology will be formed, and the game will be opened immediately.
The game assets of a and B game operators are registered on the blockchain according to the standardization agreement to form standardized assets. If the game assets of both companies are standardized, can NFT be traded between them? So this may also be a development direction in the future.
Finally, let’s talk about the inheritance of games on the blockchain. Before the formal description, we can first introduce the development history of games on the blockchain. Before, there was a game called cryptokitties in Ethereum. At the beginning, it was very popular. It took tens of thousands of yuan to buy a cat. Later, users gradually began to shrink, and the game almost disappeared in the public view. However, although the daily life of this game has declined, all the user data and game assets still exist on the blockchain.
Later, another game company, taking the public data of cryptokitties on the blockchain, made another game called cryptohats, which can continue to play the cat. The different way to play is that players can make some personalized hats for cats. This game is very simple. The difference is that it perfectly inherits all the user data of “EtherCAT”. It doesn’t need to pull a new one. It just needs to be activated.
Therefore, the life cycle of the game is no longer limited to a certain game operator. When a game disappears, it can still be found in the history of blockchain, and new ideas can be added to make it continue to develop. Therefore, in the blockchain, the life cycle of the game has been greatly extended and can be perfectly inherited from generation to generation. All users of the game are perfectly inherited.
Blockchain has brought new imagination to the game industry. The planning in the game industry may no longer be limited to one of its own worlds. Instead, it is much more interesting to face the challenges of planning from all over the world than to simply construct one’s own game world.
5、 Q & A
Q：There is no way to destroy blockchain data. In this case, who owns the data? If some bad data is deleted, what should be done?
A：First of all, it is true that there is no way to destroy the data on the blockchain. The important thing is to master the way of display. Display is human readable. In general, it needs the client or the server of Zhongfa to carry out secondary transmission. As long as it is controlled at the user terminal, it is OK. The ownership of data belongs to the last stick, that is, the ownership belongs to whoever the assets are transferred to. If it remains unchanged, the ownership will not change.
Q：Are there many people playing this kind of game now?
A：Generally speaking, the game pictures of the several games introduced above are very general. For the time being, we can’t have a relatively high standard for their playfulness and art resources. What’s more is its innovation in the game itself, its openness, and its asset trading NFT.
Chen Hao,Tencent cloud’s most valuable expert TVP, Yuanjie blockchain CTO. Blockchain entrepreneur, senior digital currency trading system architect, author of blockchain lesson 1, blockchain technology and token economic preacher, C + + coder, with dual experience in public chain architecture and high concurrency system architecture, and rich experience in blockchain technology analysis and presentation. The leading team has designed and implemented the open source public chain metaverse meta world.