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If you haven’t realized by now, the onchain gaming ecosystem is immense.
WASD has only been around for just over two months (Happy 2-month WASD-iversary btw), and in that time we’ve already covered dozens of games.
I try to spend most editions of WASD covering publicly playable games, so that way you all can try the things I write about.
However, as an onchain gamer, degen, and enthusiast, I think it’s important to look at what’s in the development pipeline in order to identity trends and of course, find new games to become addicted to (like I am with Primodium right now).
So today, we’ll look at a batch of four upcoming games from other ecosystems.
These games not only have the potential to be fun, but bring innovative design features to the table that can give us clues as to where onchain gaming (and by proxy crypto as a whole) may be headed.
Now, let’s dive in and get to it!
PixeLAW is building an onchain sandbox using Dojo.
Conceived at the ETHGlobal Paris hackathon in July 2023 and winner of the first place prize from Starknet, PixelLAW is set within a grid of (as its name suggests) pixels.
These pixels are programmable, with developers able to customize its six properties (which include color, text, and ownership) to build games and interactive experiences.
In addition, each game within PixelLAW is interoperable with one another, making the project more like a design primitive rather than a singular game in and of itself.
To demonstrate its capabilities, during the hackathon the PixelLAW team built several games of their own.
This includes a paint game where users can control the color of different pixels, a snake game where players have to work their way through a maze like structure, and rock-paper-scissors.
PixeLAW is currently in development, but is set to release a demo next month at Devconnect in Istanbul.
I’m very excited to see and play the games built in PixelLAW.
I love the idea of creating a “blank canvas” type of primitive onchain, and I think this approach unlocks a very novel design space by enabling the composability inherent in blockchains.
As a result, I’m interested to see not only what games are developed within PixelLAW, but also how they interact with one another.
Furthermore, I’m keen to see whether or not multiple front-ends are built to interact with PixelLAW, which the team has emphasized in a recent medium post.
As we know, onchain games are “client-agnostic” meaning that like a DeFi protocol, anyone can build a front-end through which they can be played.
This is especially interesting as it relates to PixelLAW, as it could enable players to experience each game built in this shared world through different lenses.
I think that would be really cool, and hopefully we’ll get a glimpse of something along those lines in November at Devocnnect.
Tarochi is an onchain RPG.
In Tarochi, players explore a digital world where they can collect monsters and battle against opponents (either 1v1 or as a team) in the hopes of earning gold and treasures.
Tarochi appears to be similar to Pokemon, but with a crypto native twist, as treasures are represented by tokens and monsters by what are known as stateful NFTs.
Stateful NFTs are NFTs whose metadata changes overtime based on their holders actions.
For Tarochi’s purposes, this means that a player’s monsters will automatically update as a result of what they do in the game.
Tarochi is being built as a first-party title by Paima Studios, the team building the Paima Engine. Paima is a framework that, similar to others like Keystone and World Engine, enables studios to build onchain games via their own, custom L2s.
Tarochi is currently testing in private, but per recent Twitter posts, will soon be launching a public alpha.
I’m very eager to get my hands on Tarochi.
As I said when I wrote about Bochamon, I think the turn-based nature of Pokemon-style combat is well suited to be put onchain.
In addition, I also like the inclusion of team-based combat, and think that should help spice up gameplay by adding new dimensions of strategy to that mode.
At a design level, I am a big fan of the use of stateful NFTs to automatically update the attributes of the monsters you collect in the game. I’m keen to see how else these types of NFTs are used in other Paima games and beyond.
Furthermore, on the topic of design, I’m excited see how Paima L2s perform in action, especially compared to the generally smooth performance I’ve experienced with MUD and Dojo games.
Downstream is an onchain MMO developed by Playmint.
In Downstream, players take the role of AGI in a post-singularity world with the goal of developing Hexwood, a world filled with (you guessed it) hexes inhabited by woodland creatures known as units.
To fulfill their civilization-building ambitions, players will have to engage in a variety of different tasks, including exploration, combat, and building structures.
Downstream aims to be a highly composable, as players will be able to use smart contracts to build and customize new structures within Hexworld that anyone can utilize in the game.
Downstream is currently in closed alpha, with prospective players able to request access by joining a waitlist on the Playmint website.
I’m very keen to try out Downstream.
I love how the team is featuring permissionless modding as a core element of gameplay by allowing to create and submit their own structures.
I think is a great way to lean into one of the strongest selling points of onchain games to enable unique gameplay and develop a robust modding community right off the bat.
Furthermore, I’m also a big fan of the art style of the game, and think the design of Hexworld, and structures themselves, looks great.
All in all, I can’t wait to try out Downstream and see how players build on top of it.
Influence is a grand-strategy MMO being developed by Unstoppable Games using a custom architecture on Starknet.
Influence is set in planetary system known as Adalia, where players aim to grow their own civilization by trading, colonizing asteroids, producing resources, building up their crew, and battling with others.
The game compliments this strategy with cryptoeconomics, as asteroids and crew members are represented by NFTs while players will be able to accumulate SWAY, an ERC-20 token that acts as money within the Influence ecosystem.
Influence is currently live in limited form on testnet, and aims to launch on mainnet in the coming months.
I’m excited by Influence in large part due to the game’s scope.
The project is highly ambitious from its complex strategy and large world, to the tech facilitating its gameplay, as the game will utilize Starknet’s inherent capabilities (like native account abstraction) to incorporate signature free-game gameplay.
I’m also a huge fan of the strategy MMO genre, especially in the context of onchain games.
You’ve probably seen me write and tweet a lot about Primodium (my favorite onchain game) and Influence seems to share some characteristics with it, while putting on its own unique spin.
As we can see, there are a number of exciting upcoming onchain games being developed across a variety of different ecosystems.
And I only just scratched this surface with this piece.
Each game I covered, whether it be Tarochi with stateful NFTs, PixelLAW with in-world composability, Downstream with native support for user mods, or Influence with account abstraction, is bringing innovative design features to the table.
I would expect these to be used not just in this case, but in many other future titles.
And of course (based on available footage and materials) the games themselves seem to leverage this tech to create fun, engaging gameplay.
Although, we’ll have to see if this on-paper potential translates to onchain promise, I’m very excited to play them all and find this out for myself.
Thanks for reading!
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Have a great weekend, and see you all on Monday!