Ever since the concept of dapps emerged, people have tried making various games utilizing blockchain technology. Unfortunately, many of these "games" were little more than gambling sites and ponzi schemes. A common example is the simple "economic game" where people buy virtual property which pays dividends out of the fund. When the fund is empty, the "game" stops. Many examples of this game are basically copied with little to no changes. However, with a little bit of economic theory and some work, even these simple "games" can be converted into a real entertaining game that can last for a long time, if not indefinitely.
World Builder will have a more robust game play than just about any economic dapp based game to date. There are a number of core features that differentiate World Builder from other economic games. First, most economic games created so far are all about buying a virtual building and sitting on it, hoping it gets enough profit back before the game runs out of funds. Our game incorporates a lot of economic theory and tries be more realistic. There will be marketplaces, uses for the tokens given to buyers, municipalities, items that can be found through investigating these municipalities, and much more. You're not just hodling virutal buildings. In this game, as the name suggests, you're building a world.
One note before reading any further. This document is a draft. While the core philosophy of integrating more economic and sociological understanding into this kind of game will not change, the details of this game, and the roadmap, will likely change as we get closer to the development stage.
Zero-Sum, Negative-Sum, and Positive-Sum Games
In the world of economic theory, there's a concept called a zero-sum game. A zero-sum game is any economic game in which someone benefitting results in another person losing the same amount. However, there are worse games than zero-sum games. Negative-sum games ensure even more losers. Gambling is really a negative-sum game, because you're always expected to get back less than you put in, and there's loss from profits being taken. In order to keep a negative-sum game running, more and more players need to add more and more resources. When people stop adding more money, the game quickly comes to an end.
In many ways, the universe is a zero-sum game. There's a fixed amount of energy, and as we utilize it, there's less and less available energy to use. However, as depressing as this idea sounds, it's not a big deal. In reality, we have plenty of available energy. The sun bathes us with energy which is generated from nuclear fusion. Eventually this energy trickles into our economies, our stock markets, and so on. That's why economic systems on Earth are positive-sum games: games which people, on average, get out more than they put in.
Keeping the Economic System "Open"
In order for this "economic game" to be anything close to a positive-sum game, we need something like the sun. We need something that provides us with new available resources. Luckily, any online game that brings in daily views can be useful in other ways. Here are a few ways in which a website can be monetized. Regardless of the fact that this project is a blockchain based economic game, the general rules of monetizing webpages are the same.
- Advertisements are not bad, although many of the websites on cryptoassets load the page with spam.
- Affiliate links are a great way to generate revenue from webpages.
- If you have a product that you want to sell, you can sell it on the site.
We plan on plan on using limited advertisements, sponsorships, and affiliate links to help generate revenue to help promote sustained game play and growth. But doing so will require significant user interaction. Luckily, user engagement is built into the game design. In order to continue generating tokens, users will have to be active, which brings the discussion to the next point of interest.
Since these games are dapps, they generally function by providing their own token. The tokens are generally either ERC-20 or TRC-10 tokens, depending on the blockchain being used. But there's nothing that you can do with the tokens, other than buying them and selling them on an exchange, if someone is actually willing to buy an essentially useless token. While many currencies are fiat, meaning that they have no value beyond the value that they obtain as a result of their being a currency, with a little bit of thought, it's possible to create some use for the tokens. That's where items and marketplaces come into play. The token created for World Builder will be a TRC-10 token called the WORLD won, symbol W₩, not to be confused with the Korean won. In game transactions, including buying items and buildings from other players, will utilize the W₩.
One of the most important items to buy will be items to keep the buildings generating revenue. A rather unique feature of this game design is that each time a user cashes out some of their profit, the buildings that they own will degrade, with the exception of automatic cash-outs when a user buys a new building or sells a building. This mechanic reduces the frequency of cash-outs, which in return improves long term sustainability of the game. However, it would be frustrating if the buildings couldn't be repaird. That's where items come into play. With repair kits, the level of disrepair for buildings can be reduced, and even eliminated.
Homes and MunicipalitiesHomes and municipalities are crucial aspects of World Builder. Every person will have one home. This home will act as a public profile for the social aspect of this game. Most of the concept for the social network component has yet to be developed and will be part of a secondary phase of design and development. Municipalities are the other core addition to this game. Buildings in this game will exist in municipalities. To start, there will be a single municipality, owned by the dev team. Buildings must exist in a municipality, and they cannot be moved. People can purchase their own municipality for 250,000 TRX. While this figure seems like a lot of money, and it is, municipalities will initially come with two advantages. One advantage is having an active say in how the game development progresses. This feature will be built into the smart contract. The other advantage is being able to tax buildings. A municipality owner can set the tax rate from anywhere between 0% - 50%. The base municipality will have a tax rate of 2.5% which will help give some revenue to the dev team.
Items and InvestigationItem generation and investigation will be off-chain in order to make it easier to create new items. The one exception will be items that impact the degredation state of the buildings, as it decrease the trustworthiness of the game if devs could reverse the degeneration state manually. In order to obtain items, players will have to investigate municipalities. The municipality item drop rate will largely depend on how many buildings are in the municipality. The more buildings, the more items dropped. Investigating will take a certain amount of time, and players will be limited in how quickly they can investigate again after an initial investigation. In order to investigate, a player will need one or more investigators. The exact investigation mechanics are still being worked out. However, a number of factors will alter the item capture rate for investigation, including the number of investigators you have, the total number of investigators searching for items, the health of the invesigator, the specific skills an investigator has, the size of the municipality, and the size and type of buildings you own. Finally, homes will be able to be remodeled with additions like recreation rooms, pool tables, etc in order to effect investigator recovery and skills. Each player will be given one investigator initially. However, there will be a way to get more.
Investigators and BridgesThis next aspect of World Builder is also fairly unique. We believe that a core benefit of blockchain and cryptoasset based games lies in third party support. As such, we're going to be creating a way for people to take resources from other games and convert them into in game resources. In order to get more investigators, players will rely on third party bridges. They will give their resources from other games, such as cuties from Blockchain Cuties, dragons from EverDragons, or cards from Splinterlands. The bridge will keep those resources, and pay a fee to the World Builder creator to create an investigator that is returned to the sender. The owner of the bridge may then use the given resource how it sees fit. Some details are likely to change, including the use of a fee. The team needs to determine a way to prevent bridges from gaming the system of creating investigators for free. It will also be possible to exchange investigators on the market.
Disclaimer: The games mentioned are potential options for bridge developers to utilize. There is no official contact between the World Builder team and the teams handling these games.
Physical RepresentationThe point of World Builder isn't to design a virtual world exactly. It's an extension of basic economic games available on Tron, taking into account additional economic theory and incorporating social elements. It's not like decentraland, which is essentially a virtual world builder. Initially, there will not be any physical representation of the game activity. However, over time, physical 2D and 3D visual representations will be added. This addition will likely occur in phase II. The exact details are again not yet written down, however, the idea is to allow each municipality to set the theme. For instance, one municipality might select a "far East" theme while another might select "cyberpunk." These different features will effect the rendering and possibly game play characteristics as well.
About The TeamWorld Builder is being spearheaded by The Guild Association, a fledgeling group dedicated to promoting the development of true guilds in the modern era. This project will help fund The Guild Association so that it can help create and service new guilds. As such, this project is a collaboration between a few of its initial member guilds, including The Game Masters Alliance, The Universal Artist Guild, and The Software Developers Guild. The original vision and design for this game was provided by The Guild Association founder, Daniel Goldman. Daniel has significant formal training in economics, mathematics, and computer science, making him an ideal leader for the project.
Revenue and ProfitsRevenue will primarily come from two sources that have already been mentioned. The first source is traditional website revenue generation methods, such as advertising and sponsorship. The other source is the 2.5% tax rate for the core municipality. Since it's likely going to be a while before anyone chooses to pay 250,000 TRX to create their own municipality, many buildings are likely to be developed in the dev team's municipality. Therefore taxes should bring in enough revenue for continued operations and some profits. All other profits will come from playing the game. After all, if the game is successful, there's no reason for the dev team not to buy some properties and further benefit from the succcess of the game.
- Phase 0
- Create TRC-10 Token. (Token Created)
- Introduce methods to distribute token to people and draw interest. (Faucet Complete)
- Phase 1
- Final organization of initial resources, including software development and graphic design units: Q4 2019
- Launch details and begin promotion of the game in order to generate interest: Q1 2020
- Beta testing of the smart contract system and initial development of the front end: Q2 2020
- Final testing of the system on Tron test net: Q3 2020
- Launch of the game and countdown to 25 referrals: Q4 2020
- Phase 2
- Create phase II charter and project plan: 2021
Welcome to World Builder
With all of this information avaialble, it's now easy to see how to create an entertaining game that uses the existing "economic games" as a foundation and yet produces something of real value to real people. World Builder is a project that will utilize real world economic theory, some theory on blockchain, and gaming, to create an ongoing game that should survive for a very long time. Moreover, it will act as the foundation for a social network that's unlike any other.