We strongly believe that web3 game development is the future of online gaming, offering a big improvement to game design, player ownership and shared success in the ecosystem. Unlike traditional games, each with their own private databases, web3 games leverage shared blockchain technology to create a decentralized, trustless, and secure gaming environment where players can truly own and control their in-game assets.
We understand that creating web3 games is not an easy task, and it requires learning a lot of new concepts and adopting a different approach to traditional game development. We at Consensys—MetaMask, Infura, and Truffle—have been immersed in the space to provide the right tools, SDKs, and programs for gaming developers.
MetaMask SDK, Infura NFT API, and Truffle are now available as verified solutions in the Unity Asset Store.
Our demo on Dragon Crashers shows you how you can level up your game with web3 features using our tools.
A Tic Tac Toe game was built using Truffle and our team worked on 5 other tutorials to help gaming developers deploy smart contracts in their games.
We are launching Sidequest: an Early Adopter Program to bring together the most curious and creative minds from every corner of the gaming industry and onboard them into web3 with online workshops, game jams, and grants.
In this blog post, we'll provide 10 tips for game developers who want to learn how to get started:
1. Understand the technology and play with it
The first and foremost thing developers need to do before creating a web3 game is to understand and play around with blockchain technology. Web3 games are built on blockchain technology, so it's essential to have a good understanding of blockchains, NFTs, and smart contracts. A blockchain is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that records transactions across a network of computers. In simple words, it is a public database that stores information in a way that makes it almost impossible to change, hack or cheat. Understanding the blockchain is crucial as it will enable developers to create games that utilize its unique features, such as security, transparency, and immutability.
2. Choose the right blockchain platform
There are many blockchains to choose from, each with its unique features and benefits. Do your research to determine which platform is best suited for your game. Developers need to choose a blockchain that suits the specific needs of their game. Consider things like scalability options, fees, liquidity, MAUs, and more. Ethereum is one of the most popular blockchains for web3 games, and we see a lot more traction with the introduction of zkEVMs, but other options like Polygon, Arbitrum, Binance Smart Chain, and Optimism are also gaining popularity.
Infura, in particular, is a very relevant platform for those building games in web3. It offers instant API access to over a dozen blockchains like Ethereum, Polygon, or Optimism. Since gaming often employs NFTs for tokens, it also provides a special NFT API to help you mint and distribute your skins, weapons, or skills. Infura furthermore contains decentralized storage & data transfer solutions like IPFS or Filecoin.
3. Look for help getting started
Getting started with web3 game development can seem daunting, but there are several resources available to help developers get up to speed. Consensys, a leading blockchain technology company, offers several programs and educational materials to support Web3 game developers.
This is why we are teaming up with several organizations to bring together the best and brightest builders from every corner of the gaming industry to unlock the full potential of web3 through the launch of Sidequest, an Early Adopter Program. This gaming developer program includes workshops, online game jams, and a grant of $100,000 to empower developers to build richer gaming worlds with NFT implementations, pioneering the future of ownership in their gameplay.
Consensys also provides a range of educational materials, resources, and products for web3 game developers:
The MetaMask SDK is a set of tools and libraries that allow developers to easily connect their games with the MetaMask wallet and quickly provide users with blockchain-enabled features.
Moreover, this demo on the Dragon Crashers game provides a hands-on tutorial for building a simple web3 game.
Dragon Crashers is an official sample project made in Unity 2020.2 that showcases Unity's native suite of 2D tools and graphics technology. The gameplay is a vertical slice of a side-scrolling Idle RPG, popular on mobile platforms.
This demo shows the implementation of MetaMask SDK, Infura NFT API, and Truffle smart contracts together and includes the basic web3 game mechanics that can be replicated by any game developer. Here is a summary of the demo architecture that showcases the Gamer view and the Gaming dev view.
Another resource for web3 game developers is the Blockchain Gaming Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting blockchain technology in the gaming industry. The alliance provides a platform for collaboration and education, as well as resources and tools for developers.
At Consensys, we love daring builders and new blockchain projects. This is why we launched the “Startup Package” in 2022. In simple terms, the startup package is a bundle of gaming-relevant software infrastructure like Infura or Diligence Fuzzing paired with white glove technical consulting, live enablement workshops, a developer boot camp, access to investment opportunities, and of course large amounts of hosting credits from AWS and GCP. Our technical support team is available with 101 support to help our participants determine their building goals and craft a custom journey on training wheels. Learn more about this here.
Gaming startups such as NiftyCraft have loved their journey so far and appreciate Consensys as a sparring partner and the automated backend. NiftyCraft is solving the challenges of interoperability, or using objects (i.e. NFTs) from one game in other games, in addition to creating their own role-playing game in parallel. Interested participants can contact us via [email protected].
We joined the program in order to leverage the vast experience of Consensys within many Web3 fields through technical consulting and advisory. We also benefitted a lot from the connections we made in the program with other interesting startups and even investors
Vincent Ghossoub, Co-founder of NiftyCraft
4. Consider Play-To-Own economics
Initial web3 games were designed to be economically rewarding for players, via play-to-earn but play-to-earn games have a potential drawback, where the emphasis on earning rewards may detract from the enjoyment of the game itself. Play-to-own is a game mechanic that is becoming increasingly popular in the world of web3 games.
Unlike traditional games where players earn in-game currency or rewards, play-to-own games allow players to actually own in-game assets that are represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on a blockchain. This means that players can buy, sell, and trade their in-game assets outside of the game environment, creating a new ecosystem of value.
In a play-to-own game, players can earn NFTs through various gameplay mechanics such as completing quests, defeating bosses, or crafting items. These NFTs are unique and verifiably scarce, meaning that players can truly own them and trade them with other players in a decentralized marketplace. This creates a new level of player investment and engagement, as players are motivated to continue playing to acquire more valuable in-game assets.
The play-to-own mechanic is often seen as a safer and more sustainable alternative to play-to-earn mechanics. In a play-to-earn game, players are incentivized to earn in-game currency or cryptocurrency by playing the game, which can lead to unhealthy gameplay habits and the potential for exploitation or manipulation of the in-game token values. On the other hand, play-to-own games provide players with actual ownership of in-game assets, which can be bought and sold for real-world value. This creates a more sustainable and healthy gaming experience for players, as they are not incentivized to constantly grind for in-game currency or rewards.
Play-to-own is also beneficial for game developers, as it creates a new revenue model for them. Developers can earn a percentage of the sales that occur on the decentralized marketplace, creating a long-term value proposition for both players and developers. Additionally, because the assets are owned by players, it reduces the risk of fraud and cheating, as players have a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of the game environment, which automatically increases the lifetime value of each player for the game as well.
5. Embrace NFTs
Previously there has been a lot of pushback from developers, platforms, and gamers on the topic of NFTs. Original objections were linked to Proof of work where blockchain mining was taking up a large portion of the GPUs on the market and was consuming vast amounts of energy. Another objection was the cost of network fees and scalability concerns. These objections are now addressed with a number of new developments. One is Ethereum’s move to Proof of Stake via “The Merge”, which has reduced the Ethereum network’s electricity consumption by over 99%, nearly removing its carbon footprint overnight and the need for lots of GPU equipment. Another is the rise in other Proof of Stake networks like Polygon with much lower fees and we expect this trend to continue with the introduction of zkEVM technology on top of Ethereum which also brings significant scalability improvements.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) have revolutionized the gaming industry by providing players with true ownership of in-game assets. NFTs are unique digital assets that are stored on the blockchain, and they can be bought and traded just like physical assets. Integrating NFTs into your game will enable players to own, trade, and borrow in-game items, such as skins, weapons, and other collectibles. This provides players with a new level of engagement and investment in your game which they can then show off to the outside world via their wallets and presence on other web3 platforms.
6. Make it fun and engaging
It may seem obvious but we encourage everyone to focus on the user experience over the technology. In creating a web3 game, developers can get very caught up and excited about implementing blockchain technology. It is essential to focus on the gameplay and overall user experience. The game should be fun, engaging, and challenging. Developers need to ensure that the game mechanics are well-balanced and that the game is accessible to players of all skill levels. It's also important to consider the social aspect of the game, as web3 games can be a great platform for social interaction and community building which differentiates them from web2 games. Creating a successful web3 game requires more than just blockchain technology - it also requires a focus on the essential elements of good game design. To create a compelling web3 game, developers must prioritize creating an immersive, visually stunning experience that captivates players and keeps them coming back for more.
Good-quality graphics and audio are critical components of any web3 game. Developers should invest in creating immersive assets that draw players in and keep them engaged throughout the game.
Gameplay is another key consideration. The mechanics of the game should be well-balanced and easy to learn, with clear instructions and intuitive controls. Players should feel challenged but not frustrated, with rewards and achievements that keep them motivated to progress through the game.
Social features are also critical for web3 games. In addition to enabling in-game trading and asset exchange, developers should incorporate social features that allow players to interact with one another, build communities, and form teams to complete challenges together.
Finally, a successful web3 game must be well-maintained and continuously updated with new content, challenges, and features. This requires a committed development team that is responsive to player feedback and willing to invest the time and resources necessary to keep the game fresh and engaging.
7. Embrace decentralization and don’t be a control freak
Web3 games are built on decentralized networks, which means that they are resistant to censorship and control. Embrace this aspect of the technology. Many platforms are freaking out about this with the likes of Apple imposing the IAP policy on NFTs and platforms like Steam banning NFTs outright. Web3 brings together three groups who have to work together to make a web3 game a success:
The game developers and studios
The publishers, marketplaces, and launchers
The nature of web3 means that each of these stakeholders need to have their needs met, avoiding platform and user lock-ins, high fees, or copyright infringement. Getting the balance right will mean a healthy ecosystem that thrives.
8. Build a strong community
Building a strong community is crucial for the success of any web3 game. Web3 games are powered by communities of players and developers. A strong community can help to promote the game, provide feedback, and suggest new features. Giving your gamers a sense of ownership in the game will keep them engaged and interested in the success of the game. Developers need to communicate with the community regularly, listen to their feedback, and involve them in the development process. A strong community can also help attract new players to the game, which can lead to growth, sustainability, and lots more fun.
9. Use open standards and best-in-class tooling
Web3 games rely on open standards, such as NFT standards like ERC-721 and ERC-1155, so make sure that your game follows these standards. This will allow for more interoperability with other parts of the gaming and web3 ecosystem. Integrate your project with open-source technologies such as MetaMask (wallet) and Truffle (smart contract development).
Use industry-leading tools such as Infura (blockchain connectivity). Web3 games are built on blockchain technology, which is based on open standards that enable interoperability and collaboration across different platforms and applications. To ensure that your web3 game is compatible with other parts of the gaming and Web3 ecosystem, it's important to use open standards such as NFT standards like ERC-721 and ERC-1155.
These standards provide a common framework for representing digital assets on the blockchain, making it easier to create, trade, and integrate in-game items and assets across different games and platforms. By adhering to these standards, developers can ensure that their games can be easily integrated into the broader web3 ecosystem and that their in-game assets are easily tradable and interoperable with other applications.
In addition to using open standards, it's also important to leverage industry-leading tools and technologies to build your web3 game. For example, integrating your project with open-source technologies such as MetaMask and Truffle can provide essential functionality such as wallet integration and smart contract development.
Finally, it's important to use blockchain connectivity services such as Infura to ensure that your game is properly connected to the blockchain network. Infura is a cloud-based service that provides developers with access to blockchain nodes, making it easy to build and deploy web3 applications without having to manage their own blockchain infrastructure.
By using open standards and best-in-class tooling, developers can create web3 games that are more interoperable, secure, and scalable. By leveraging these tools and technologies, developers can focus on building engaging and immersive gaming experiences, while leaving the technical complexities of the blockchain infrastructure to the experts.
10. Think about security
Security is a critical aspect of web3 games, as players could be investing real money in your game. Ensure that your game is secure and resistant to vulnerabilities. Use a trusted and audited smart contract from templates available. If you are developing something new, consider using a Fuzzing service and make sure to book a smart contract audit well in advance of launching your game, as good auditors are hard to come by.
In conclusion, developing web3 games is challenging but can be massively rewarding too. Developers need to have a good understanding of the technology, choose the right blockchain for their game, integrate NFTs, focus on fun gameplay, embrace a decentralized ethos and build a strong community.
Lastly, we highly recommend keeping up with the latest developments in web3 as the technology is constantly evolving. By following these tips, developers can create successful web3 games that provide players with a new level of ownership and engagement.
Overall, there are many resources available for developers looking to get started with web3 game development. By leveraging these programs, educational materials, and resources, developers can gain the knowledge, funding, and support they need to build innovative and successful Web3 games.
This new paradigm in gaming allows for innovative gameplay mechanics, economics, and interoperability that challenge the status quo, while also opening up exciting opportunities for creating new communities and ecosystems. So get ready to embark on a journey into the world of web3 gaming, where the community is everything and the future is bright!