Blockchain Gamer & Ark Tribe
Ark Tribe is the result of a think tank that went by the name of Blockchain Gamer, from the cryptocurrency community, that aimed to find innovative uses of blockchain in video games, and a real use case that could meet the needs or demands of the video game ecosystem.
You will find the documents and studies on which we based our work on the website of "Agence Française du Jeu Vidéo." Some recent studies reinforce the points that this group had already put forward at the time, I may refer to them. This is not an anachronism, but a note to show that what was said is still relevant today.
Started by myself, based on my experience as a player in high level guilds on most MMORPGs at their hour of glory, and many "solo" games quickly joined by other players, the group had enriched its discussion on the needs and desires of the players of today and tomorrow, by reading numerous studies on video games and technology available or that would be available in the future.
It seemed relevant to listen to people of all ages in order to have a wider panorama, and to meet the needs of those who will be the buyers of the next generation of games.
From a perspective looking to the future, and in a reflection on solutions for the long term, we had in multiple channels (Discord, Slack, private messages on Telegram, on Skype, E-mail and private forums) discussed subjects like "the qualities that a game should have to meet the expectations of duration, quality, and universality" of current players.
There appeared some major needs that guided us to the solutions that I would present later in detail. These needs can be summed up by a motley search for difficulty, a nostalgia for the social game, and a need to recognize the cultural character of the game.
The Thoughts of Blockchain Gamer
Observations On Challenge
It has to be said that not all players aspire to a similar difficulty. The average video game is no longer the prerogative of adolescents in search of personal challenge, it has become widely popularized. You will find appendix references to the studies of the AFJV (French Agency of Video Games), which show that today a very different population plays video games.
From Blockchain Gamer, discussions have emerged regarding a need for challenge, such as those of video games that came before. By looking at what they thought was "better before" we were able to find several elements that determined their discontent.
Before the arrival of the MMORPGs and their massive adoption, there was little or no quest
indicators in mini-maps, for example. We had to explore every corner of every place we went to,
talk to each NPC (non-player character) to find quests, and explore the game maps ourselves for monsters or rewards.
In today's MMORPGs, each quest is announced on the mini-map (miniature map of the player's immediate
environment, usually at the top right of the screen) which is standard for MMORPG systems. The storyline transports you from one place to another with laser-guided precision; It is not
hard to find what you are looking for.
If there is a demand from players who want to be able to play "without breaking their heads" and
who like to be carried away by the storyline, others regret not being able to "choose to
explore" rather than be led through the game by a questline.
Open world games, where you can go anywhere, could have provided a solution for these
players, if it was that "anywhere else than where the next quest leads, there's nothing exciting", and so the interest, for them, of the open world is limited to being able to look at beautiful
landscapes, nothing interesting.
If this is not a universal point of view, and not all games are RPGs (role playing games) it is interesting to see that even on other types of games, this point comes back. So, on platform games (where you have to jump, move from one platform to another) you have exactly the same opposites "It's too easy" and "it's impossible" depending on agility and the customer's machine.
Observations On Multiplayer Interaction
Another observation is that today, we play on PCs, consoles, laptops, and smartphones (more and more) but we isolate ourselves when we play. "The online modes or multiplayer is the blank" insisted adults, against a "no, they are cool" in adolescents.
From this opposition, a most interesting discussion was born. Initially opposed on the subject, after much discussion, was born a consensus that it would be much more fun if the multiplayer, without making an obligation, could be played by several people whose presence and physical interaction would affect the game.
But everyone, regardless of age and occupation, has shown a growing appetite for immersive
games where you feel you live the story. Also, if they are currently reluctant to spend on virtual
reality equipment, they admit that they would be happy to spend on this type of equipment if a
serious game comes around that meets all their other expectations.
The most technical people of the group had reflections on another challenge of today's games,
and more so, of tomorrow. As said above, we play on several mediums, but each of
these mediums run different operating systems. The consoles all have their own different OSs. On the PC
there are Mac OSX, Linux, and Windows. On laptops, there is Android, Windows and others. There are different screen resolutions (digital screen size), and uncalibrated performance and capabilities of each
device to contend with.
So what? What to do?
It goes without saying that to make a different version for everyone is time-consuming, unsustainable, and undesired in cases where you have the choice to do otherwise. The proof is, if you need
it, that the best selling point of Unity 3D, Game Maker Studio, and RPG Maker is that you can
"publish for all consoles and OSs" with a single, unchanging codebase.
In the world of application development (including video games) cross-platform solutions also abound, including Visual Studio (software used to make programming from Microsoft) that even offers the power of C# and other languages, to make programs for Android or Linux.
This is where solutions began to appear.
As mentioned above, Unity 3D and Game Maker Studio offer complete solutions to develop only one codebase, and publish for all platforms. Steam, a distribution platform, allows you to make available your game (software, video, book, etc.) for all platforms. For niche users, games/software publishing is handled through different channels for each OS.
Nvidia, the manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, also offers a solution to this problem, which goes through the cloud: GeForce NOW. A service running on its famous GeForce graphics cards, it allows players to play games in a fluid way, one in which your PC does not need the necessary hardware resources. You can find the technical details on Nvidia's product site for GeForce NOW.
Many other studies and proposals that were conducted were, unfortunately, lost when the group dissolved. However, from the studies and agencies mentioned that I was able to find online, and these discussions in which I participated, was born Ark Tribe.
Ark Tribe's birth
In order to utilize the results of Blockchain Gamer, and for the stated purpose of creating a new think tank, but more in-depth and more professional, I created Ark Tribe. This group was not intended to grow as fast as Blockchain Gamer, and it is not currently huge either.
The Blockchain Gamer experiment was certainly a success in terms of results of its reflection, but a failure on the "concrete" ideas that had resulted from it. So having amassed hands-on playing experience, theoretical knowledge about game design by BG (Blockchain Gamer), as well as a better understanding of player needs through the different discussions held by BG, it seemed to me essential to create games from this wealth of information.
Of all types of video games the one that, by my contacts and knowledge were most accessible, was the Visual RPG format, which combines the narrative power of a Visual Novel, with the adventure feel of a RPG. There are many definitions for Visual Novels, but we have retained the aspect of "interactive book of which we are the hero". For this type of game, you need backgrounds, characters (portraits and busts), and a solid story, which holds its ground compared to a conventional book.
I contacted illustrators, musicians, and writers, as well as correctors, obviously, programmers too. A team formed, which took a long time to have a strong heart. While it is regrettable that finding a progammer has been difficult, the programming aspect is, fortunately, a point that I can fill. This is how the project "Fairytale of a Kingdom" was born.
But in all that ... where is the blockchain?
Here it comes! The basis of "Fairytale of a Kingdom" will be a Visual Novel. It will provide a solid storyline for the game, multiple purposes, neat decors ... but it will include a classic RPG part with fights, shops to buy equipment, among other elements.
This is where the blockchain comes in. It will store all the interactions the players make with the game. Purchases, sales, obtaining experience, objects, skill points ... all this will be stored on the blockchain. Because of everything being stored on the blockchain, the game itself will only contain the code needed to interact with the blockchain.
Additionally because of the use of a blockchain storage layer, the shops are able to be dynamic. They contain everything that was sold, but also all that other players have sold. The cities of the game would be constantly changing state too. For example: if there were ten quests to "kill the wolves" completed by us players, and there end up being more of those quests completed game-wide, then the rabbit population game-wide could increase too much! This would mean we must kill some of the rabbits, and reintroduce the wolves. Let's go to the other areas to search!
This gives the appearance of a massively multiplayer game, but with all the advantages of playing solo. This aspect, I called it: "Mass Ecosystem Economics" (hereinafter MEEM), and it fits as much to solo games as to MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) type games. It meets the expectation of diversity of people.
Regarding difficulty, Fairytale of a Kingdom will not provide an innovative solution, because
the solution envisaged by Ark Tribe is both ambitious and only able to be done with the help of a
team of experts not currently our current network: artificial intelligence. No, not the
artificial intelligence of the monsters of today's games ... we are talking about an artificial
intelligence shared by all Ark Tribe games, one that all of Ark Tribe's games will connect to.
This system will, for example, determine the level of the player, his strengths and his weaknesses and will adjust the script of the monsters to the individual player, or to the collective, who confronts them. Or, it will rearrange platforms so that they are difficult but not impossible to cross for the player. This is how Ark Tribe intends to propose a common game, but one that adapts to each player individually.
And so ... the future SCOP (Cooperative)?
If it is not necessary to have a business for Fairytale of a Kingdom demonstrates the MEEM and its capabilities, what Ark Tribe can do as a community project, the field of artificial intelligence, and ambitions members in the heart of Ark Tribe can not be part of the community. We want to create a video game studio based on artificial intelligence research, virtual reality, and future technologies.