I’m very excited to announce the debut of WASD’s first-ever guest creator…Donovan Choy!
Donovan is a researcher, writer, and onchain gaming enjoyooor.
Today, he’s going to dive into an onchain game that’s captured his and the communities interest over the past several months: Shoshin.
Shoshin is a fighting game that’s live in beta on Starknet.
Below, Donovan is going to teach you all about it by discussing:
Shoshin’s core gameplay mechanics
How to get started playing
The design of Shoshin under the hood
I hope you all enjoy reading Donovan’s piece as much as I did!
Author: Donovan Choy
Shoshin is a “TPS-agnostic,” asynchronous fighting game developed by Topology on Starknet.
Shoshin is a 1v1 fighter similar to traditional arcade-style games like Street Fighter. But, instead of battling in real-time, combat is relatively hands-off.
To fight, players design and submit a moveset known as a “Mind.” A Mind is a predetermined number of moves based on a set of probabilistic and conditional logic.
For instance, players can design their characters to execute a normal attack or a special ability if their opponent is within a range or below a certain health point.
You can also set certain actions to “Always true” so your character is guaranteed to execute it. These actions are layered in order, so the game knows what to prioritize.
Not every aspect of combat needs to be determined by players. Players can also allow their fighters to express non-deterministic behavior via “Mixups”, thereby introducing an element of RNG into the fighting.
There is a huge range of customizability when it comes to designing Minds, as players can construct them based on attributes like state, “rage”, and health points – the sky’s the limit.
You can think of Shoshin more as a strategy game than a fighting game, as you have to predict how opponents will think and act.
For instance, if you believe many players will incorporate “jumps” into their movesets, then you would want to counter with upswing attacks. However, upswing attacks leave your feet vulnerable to a low attack, so you would have to take that into account by incorporating enough “blocks” in your moves.
Shoshin boils down to a game of tradeoffs, where the optimal gameplan is to design an impenetrable generalist strategy that can take on whatever potential combat situation that might emerge.
Ultimately, you want to create a moveset that introduces just enough offense to win but, at the same time, just enough defense not to lose.
While there are many actions that its devs have yet to implement, the moves that players have at their disposal right now can be strung together into a complex layer of if-then logic.
This makes Shoshin a supremely easy game to learn but hard to master.
When it comes to onboarding, jumping into the game is straightforward, as it requires no wallet sign-ins yet. The UX is simple to navigate, and players are greeted with an onboarding tutorial to teach them the ropes of the game, such as minds, layers, and conditions.
Despite its beta going live under two months ago, Shoshin has begun to establish a competitive scene.
On 29th August, Topology held a real-life double-elimination tournament that enabled player versus player (PVP) combat.
In the tournament, players would upload their Minds into a database, which was randomly selected to be used to fight against another player. Players could change their Minds between rounds, allowing them to strategically tinker and adjust before their next battle.
The winner of the tournament built a Mind containing up to 11 layers of actions, way above the average of 5-6!
Shoshin’s game development started as an experiment.
Its developers drew inspiration from Robot Odyssey, a little-known game released in 1984, which lets players program robots to navigate mazes and solve puzzles.
Fighting games usually pit players in an intensive showdown based on their reaction times. Because blockchains cannot support a high load of TPS yet, Topology opted for a game design where players would asynchronously submit strategic movesets to be pitted against another player or AI.
That allows competitive gameplay between players simultaneously, albeit not in real-time. An entire fight would theoretically be one transaction consisting of a single game loop.
In DeFi terms, this is similar to DEX aggregators like 1inch executing multiple swaps through different DEXs, but on the user’s end, it comes out as just a single transaction with one gas fee.
So, why does a game like Shoshin need to be onchain at all?
In short, Shoshin is aligned with the “autonomous worlds” philosophy of highly composable and permanent onchain games.
As it’s fully onchain, in the future, players will be able to create their own immutable moves, characters, or even entire game modes. Shoshin does not have to be limited to just 1v1 combat, but can be modded into a 2v2 or 3v3 arcade game.
At present, Shoshin is still in beta and limited to 1v1 combat against NPC combatants. There’s also an in-game leaderboard where players can compare their scores, with head-to-head online play coming soon.
All in all, I know of no other onchain game quite like Shoshin.
Definitely check out this one-of-a-kind strategy fighting game for yourself.
Thanks for reading!
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Have a great weekend, and see you all on Thursday!