On the surface, blockchain gaming isn’t always so obvious, but as we dig in we find there are many problems this can solve in the gaming space. This will be a light overview of the benefits of blockchain gaming to start to understand some of the major benefits it can offer. As we develop the space and continue to experiment, we will share more about our findings, practical applications, and some possibilities of where we might be heading. For now, we will scratch the surface with a gentle introduction to some clear benefits of on chain gaming.
There are currently an abundance of available opportunities to move both gaming and the web3 space forward, often overlapping, which is where we tend to find our sweet spot. In order to really grasp the potential, we need to go beyond thinking of blockchains as merely a system of provably fair information and universally agreed upon ledgers, but with the advent of smart contracts, the real model is as world computers. As long as one can access a current node from a global blockchain, they can participate in the distributed computation necessary to take part in a blockchain based game.
Let’s look at some of these benefits that come from building on a world computer.
What blockchain gaming offers:
Provably fair gameplay
Distributed multiplayer gaming
Integration with token and defi protocols
Universal backend + ability to mod / create multiple frontends
Current speeds are not ready for all types of gaming
Gas prices can vary widely, even on a single chain
Time to complete a transaction can also vary widely
What games are currently suited for blockchain?
Phase based multiplayer games
Betting around oraclized events
Where we are:
Lucky machines has been focusing on the first 2 types to create multiplayer board game style games, processed entirely on chain or a hybrid model utilizing Chainlink Keepers to maintain an on chain game loop. We are experimenting with various levels of on-chain processing to find the point of on chain processing that is necessary, and what should be processed locally or off chain. Our current position is the frontend can be built in a variety of ways, and any key game-state should be present on chain. Player choices and processing should be stored on chain, at least as far as can be definitively re-constructed, to always lead to the outcome stored on chain.
An example of an acceptable blockchain game state:
Say we have a simple game where players can take turns moving along a straight line with spaces numbered sequentially (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). If a player lands on another player’s space, the original player on that space is eliminated form the game. So let’s say player A is positioned at space 1 and wants to move to space 4, where another player is currently sitting. We can store their choice of moving 3 spaces forward with something like an integer with a value of 3. Then we can call a view function (a function in solidity that only reads from the state of the contract, and doesn’t store anything, thus costing nothing) which calculates where player A will be 3 spaces forward (space 4) and it calculates that player B is eliminated from this move. We can use a Chainlink keeper to call this view function, collect the updated state that Player A will be at space 4 and player B will not on the board any more. The keeper writes this updated state on chain, and our game is in its next phase. We only have two items to store on chain now: player A position (3) and player B is on board (false). Even though only the outcome is stored, we can see the function that was used to process the state, and using the same inputs and ruleset, we should always end up with the same final state. This is sufficient for on-chain provability.
Specificity can ultimately lead to generalization and a greater understanding of the whole.
These are the core ideas around blockchain gaming and generally why it is important and where we are approaching our contributions, but often the clarity and understanding comes not from one brief overview, but a combination of specific examples. Through the examples we understand the nuance and make connections that will eventually add up to the big picture. Stay tuned as we dive into the details of web3 and gaming and we find our way to the big picture that is our future.