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Gm onchain gamers!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or completely hooked on an onchain game) you’ve likely seen the hype surrounding Farcaster.
The decentralized social network has taken crypto by storm and grown exponentially over the past several weeks following the release of Frames.
Frames are a Farcastive-native feature that enables anyone to create an app within a cast (a term for a post on the network).
Frames have given rise to all sorts of interesting functionality, experiences, experiments and even games.
We’re gamers here at WASD, so today we’ll explore this latter use case and take a look at the onframe gaming ecosystem that’s exploding on Farcaster.
Is a new class of onchain games emerging before our eyes?
Are onframe games here to stay?
Let’s get into it and find out!
Before we look at some onframe games, let’s get a better understanding of Farcaster and Frames themselves.
Farcaster is a (sufficiently) decentralized social network built using an onchain and offchain architecture that enables users to create accounts, make short posts known as casts, and form communities.
Unlike Web2 platforms, Farcaster’s social graph is decentralized and client-agnostic.
This means that anyone can build a front-end to interface with the protocol, providing users with true ownership over their accounts and the ability to port their following between apps.
There are numerous clients built on Farcaster today, with some of the most popular being Warpcast and Supercast.
A big driver behind Farcaster’s recent growth is the introduction of Frames.
As previously mentioned, Frame’s are a standard that enable developers to build applications that run inside of a cast.
If you’re a loyal WASD reader, you can think of them as similar to the Mirror embed’s that we’ve sometimes put in our posts.
Despite their on the surface simplicity, there are tons of different things you can do within a Frame like mint an NFT, create generative art, conduct polls, sign-up for different services, and of course, play a game.
You can also conduct “engage to x” campaigns, which would require users to take actions such recasting, liking, or following in order to access a Frame.
While they have only been live for ten days, there are already dozens of different Frame’s that have been realased and more being dropping each day.
For a deeper look into Frames, check out this thread on them.
Now that we have more context on Farcaster and Frames, let’s look at some of the onframe games that have been built so far.
Perl is a prediction game developed by Alex Kwon.
In the game, your goal is to predict whether a caster will get above a certain level of engagement for a given KPI.
Let’s unpack this a bit.
Each round of the game begins with a daily cast in the Perl channel that’s presented as a Frame that features a caster, a number, and a KPI (likes, recasts, etc.).
After viewing the frame, players will have to predicate whether the caster’s performance on the KPI will exceed the number displayed in the Frame.
If you choose correctly, you’ll have the chance to win $PERL, an in-game currency.
I think Perl is a cool game that leans into the unique attributes of Farcaster.
I also like how the game’s has leaderboard, as it helps up the stakes and adds excitement to rounds.
I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way, as the Perl account has more than 23,000 followers!
Nethria is a text-based adventure game developed by Deployer.
The project is inspired by Zork, a title in the same genre built for the PDP-10 and released in 1977.
In Nethria, you’ll battle and defeat a namesake AI that’s gone rouge and is in the midst of a memecoin and NFT stealing spree.
To get started, all you have to do is read the frame, and press “start.”
After doing so, you’ll be presented with the choice to “attack” or “dodge,” which you’ll have to continuously make in order to best the AI.
(Like most people, I chose to attack first before realizing that Nethria has far more health than I do.)
Nethria is a pretty simple game, as it can be played in just a few minutes.
Despite this, I’ve had fun with it.
There’s a lot of tension to encounters, and still some strategic depth involved, as you have to use items in your inventory and vary your moves to have success and win.
Base Quest is another text-based adventure game.
In the game, you’ll explore, engage in combat, and make a series of choices that determine your fate.
To get started, you’ll need to create your character from picking one of four different classes.
When I played, I chose to be a Mage who doesn’t want any magical powers.
After doing so, you’ll be able to go on a choose-your-own-adventure style quest where you’ll can do things like brew potions, explore castles, or battle with dragons.
Base Quest is my favorite onframe game I’ve played, as the story can keep you engaged for a long time.
It’s one of the only Frame games to date with a real, fleshed-out narrative that can keep you playing for several minutes.
Furthermore, it feels fresh through each play-through, as you can choose a new character and go on a different adventure.
While Base Quest and all Frame games are nice in that they are easy to pick up, I do wish there was some way to save your progress, as you’ll lose it if you leave the page.
There are a lot of other interesting onframe games being built.
A few that have caught my attention are:
Akinator, a recreation of the namesake bot (Who my name is inspired by!)
Pokemon, a remix on the classic RPG.
Doom, a rendition of the OG FPS.
1337, a Farcaster native game where you try to land on the number 1337.
Onframe games are having a moment.
Despite Frames themselves being less than two weeks old, there have already been numerous games built using the features, and many more in the works.
Most games right now are simple, however some like Perl, Nethria and Base Quest are still gaining a lot of momentum.
It’s very early days, but Frame’s have the potential to be an exciting new medium for building, playing, and distributing games that leverage Farcaster’s shared social graph.
Onframe games are an exciting addition to the onchain gaming mix, and I think they’re here to stay.
I’m excited to continue exploring this new ecosystem and to see how the ecosystem evolves from here!
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