It is important before you read this introduction to understand some of our overarching principles in our game and protocol design.
Like all game developers, we wish to create a successful game. Success might be satisfaction in creating a well-liked, enjoyable game. It might be introducing something innovative. It might be finding commercial success. It might be creating a cultural landmark.
We are driven people. We are planning to hit all of those markers of a successful game in our releases. But our quest has an additional, deeper objective.
Allow us to share our remarks on the nascent gaming genre we, and a small group of other studios, are building on the frontier of.
Eternal games, as the name suggests, are ever-lasting. They will exist for as long as the network they are deployed upon exists. They are both persistent and ephemeral, and they are a new paradigm in game design.
Take a moment - which games, digital or IRL, will run forever?
To a certain degree, the only eternal game that has existed is civilisation itself. The rise and fall of civilisations over time pushes humanity forward and backwards in a constant struggle to advance.
With the advent of a scalable public blockchain, only now do we have the capacity to create an eternal game.
An eternal game exhibits the following:
- The game play is persistent; there is no end (there are goals but no definitive end-state)
- Governance by the active players
- Not controlled by any single entity after deployment
- All the game logic exists on-chain
- All the game state exists on-chain
We see a future world of co-creation between developers, players and publishers, with the line between them becoming forever blurred. With NFTs and permissioned contracts we can allow the game to be governed by the players forever. There will, however, be a canonical universe of the game and if a group of players choose they do not like the direction of the game, they can simply fork the world and run their own game state. We are heavily inspired by the work of ISAAC and the Dark Forest Team.
The relationship between computational constraints and creativity is fascinating. Finite limits on storage and processing have forced digital artists and game developers to fit their vision into the confines of the chips, controllers, displays and networks of their time.
That’s how we got the Mario theme music. That’s how we get the pixel aesthetic that is still appreciated by many today. That’s why the side scroller and platformer gameplay came to be.
Each generation bumps up against the limits of their tech and comes up with something valuable that would not have existed in a context without limitation.
With the foremost smart contract platform, Ethereum, both storage and computation on the network are expensive. That’s the price of security. Building games on the EVM rapidly hit hard limits, so to build rich games we must use a layer 2 system.
Layer 2 solutions change the design space. No longer are we constrained by computation, we can now abstract the data layer away from the execution layer and build without the EVM constraint, but retain the security and persistence of Ethereum.
We have chosen StarkNet to build our eternal game as we believe STARKS are the next paradigm in computing thanks to their unique property of compressing computation and no requiring of no trust setup. Along with increased computation, StarkNet has native account abstraction opening the doorway for the user experience unlock we have all been hoping for. We talk about StarkNet deeply in the final section of this scroll.
Without the constraint of the SNES, we never would have experienced Mario. The designers of Mario embraced constraints, and we embrace the constraints of the blockchain. This pressure has forced us to think differently about games and how they are played.
Together with a community of passionate builders, storytellers and designers, we are building and realizing our vision of an eternal game.