According to Dappradar's 2022 Dapp Industry Report, this year saw an increase in business applications built around the concept of decentralization, and the increasing adoption of blockchain technology by enterprises in traditional areas, leading to a broader growth of Dapps. In particular, the web3 gaming circuit, which is experiencing a harsh encryption winter, is still seeing incredible resilience in the space.
According to the report, the number of daily unique active wallets (Uaws) in web3 games increased by an average of about 1.15 million in 2022, accounting for 49% of all Dapps' daily blockchain activity, while the number of transactions grew 94.17% to 7.44 billion.
So how can you get involved in this still hot track, and what tools can you use to create a web3 game application? This article will introduce some existing engines and SDK tools for building web3 game applications in detail.
First, let's take a look at the concept and origin of game engines.
The game engine is the core component of some written code collections and some interactive real-time graphics applications. This system provides game developers with all kinds of tools needed to write games, aiming to let them solve the core problems of rendering, physics and action in the game under the idea of real-time calculation, efficiency first and pursuit of quality. It's easy and fast to make a game without having to reinvent the wheel from scratch.
Early game developers also figured out that if some features were similar, why not abstract away snippets of code and call them up when developing other games? As a result, game companies began to maintain their own base code base to reduce the amount of repetitive development.
But as the market evolves and games become more complex, outdated development models can no longer keep up with the growing demands of players.
A game developer named John Carmack also saw the downside of the code reuse model: by making a game and then saving some of the code for the next generation, you're always using current technology to solve a future problem. So he decided to start developing a framework for the game, writing all the basic code he would need in the future, and leaving interfaces that were easy to call and modify.
In 1992, Wolfenstein 3D, the first true FPS (first-person shooter) game on the PC, was released, marking the transition from 2D graphics to 3D graphics, and every FPS game on the market since then has used a similar architecture.
Not long after, the true beginning of 3D gaming, id Tech1 based DOOM, was released, further demonstrating the power of this development model: 3D texture mapping combined with full-color rendering and digital sound pushed the limits of gamers' imaginations, and the world's first modern general-purpose game engine was born. A game development icon, Carmack not only introduced the first 3D games, defined the FPS genre, and set the standard for game engines.
Later, Carmack's company, id Software, continued to create a wave of 3D games and technical innovation, rapidly iterating the engine. At that time, even V's famous Half-Life and Counter-Strike series were developed and expanded with his family's engine technology. Almost until the end of the 20th century, the middleware market for games (the components that make up the game engine, the plugins, etc.) was dominated by id Software.
It wasn't until 1998, when Epic Games released Unreal Tournament on Unreal Engine, that another technological breakthrough in graphics began. But because there weren't enough players in the market and the games were expensive, only developers with enough depth were able to license Unreal and id Tech's flagship engines.
That changed radically in the 2000s, when the arrival of the mobile Internet allowed mature game engines, including the better known Unity3D and Cocos2dx, a homegrown open-source game engine owned by Cocos, to enter the market at prices suitable for small, independent development teams.
Cocos later launched a decentralized gaming and digital asset development platform on top of cocos2dxCocos-BCX, whose core components are a game engine that includes a software framework and virtual machine, supports multiple blockchains and creates a visual and data-driven development environment specifically for game use cases.
But today, most web2 games and even some web3 games are built on virtual engines or Unity. Increasingly, however, web3 game studios are developing their own game engines that allow developers to write decentralized complex game logic and interactions.
Among them,FragcolorIs such a web3 game engine, it is "creator operating system"FragnovaA community contribution building (Fragnova custom dedicated L1 for game development and multi-platform collaboration providing interoperability) aims to build a decentralized native game engine for open metacomes with interoperability to enhance the capabilities of game, metacomes and virtual world interactive experience builders.
In addition, Fragcolor works with a wide range of existing engines: Unlike Unreal, Unity, Gamemaker Studios, etc., all assets in the Fragcolor asset market are minted as system-native NFTS for Fragments, providing legitimate incentives for asset creators, Creators will receive royalties from games that use these Fragments. The Unity engine, for example, is known for its huge asset market, but the economic structure of the asset mall has nothing to do with the game's Mod creators.
Here's how the Mod (Modification) has affected the development of the game industry. A Mod is a feature change to an original video game, usually made by gamers, ranging from a minor change to a complete overhaul. Common things like improving graphics, adding new items or missions, tweaking mechanics, and fixing bug scopes have been around for years, and players have used improving games as a way to express themselves.
Some games, such as Warcraft III and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, even offer official editing tools, including game map editing, story editing, scene editing, and more. They know that by making these tools available to the community, their games will be flooded with fresh content, thus extending the life cycle and replayability of their games. Thanks to mods, a community of more innovative players has emerged from these games, dedicated to developing and playing modified iterations.
Of these, two genres have had a significant impact on the industry, both from mods. One is the popularity of the MOBA genre, Dota, which grew out of custom maps in Warcraft III and later spawned indie games like League of Legends. The other is the game of Runaways, best known for the Minecraft mod and Day Z (a mod for Arma 2), which led to the creation of indie games like PUBG and Fortnite.
Fragcolor introduces the concept of "create to earn" with Fragments NFT, Fragments representing any game data or code that provide creators with permanent royalties and links to their game modules through decentralization. Opening up a new monetization opportunity for game developers. This is in contrast to web2 game engines such as Unity, which use special on-chain logic to drive their use, sharing, management and deployment in a decentralized asset mall and game engine.
In addition, other projects also provide Mod toolsP12, which offers a product called "The Editor" that can do things like scene making, NPC setting, and writing game interaction logic. P12 intends to build a sustainable economic ecosystem for web3 games, offering products including "The Infra" and "The Econs" to help bring game content online and encourage creators to design.
In a nutshell, P12 is a web3 version of Roblox, iterating its editor to attract game developers and build a large game development platform by bridging more game content. Additionally, the initial P12 NFT drops for web2 Steam players, similar to the way Handshake airdrops for Github have been for handshake, gave them a nice cold start.
Similarly, a web3 game engine designed to be fully decentralized uses blockchain technology to ensure clear asset ownership to create a highly modular and interoperable experienceKip EngineOne of its features is that it aims to take 3D Web development to the next level.
With KIP, developers can use smart contracts, game logic, and data from multiple sources to build innovative real-time experiences that enable smooth and efficient 3D graphics and physics across a variety of devices.
And the recently released independent open source web3 development engineSpike EngineIt's also a project worth looking at. It supports the whole process of web3 application development, testing, publishing and operation. From the most basic application development, Spike engine provides a large number of plug-ins and script libraries, enabling developers to complete the development of an application faster.
In addition, Spike's technical framework based on Godot4.0, Vulcan dynamic rendering and WebGL technology combine rendering performance, convenient development and multi-device support and other functions.
On the other hand, there are a lot of web3 integrated SDK projects out there, compared to some standalone full game engines. They contain most of the web3 development frameworks and tools, and separate out a game suite for games built on blockchain, but still use traditional engines like Unity for building resource sections such as rendering and physics.
Such asThirdwebProvides a complete web3 development framework and Unity SDK. Once the gameplay is designed, the developer or publisher will integrate blockchain technology into the game, including which blockchain to choose, embeddable wallet, NFT coin and internal market building. And compliance solutions or other services built for the Token economy and management.
Before BlockBeatsCan developer tool platform Thirdweb be the Shopify of web3The article details how Thirdweb simplifies web3 development and connects everything needed for development, such as games and applications, to a decentralized web.
The star project of this type is the one that received $725 million from a16z, Tiger Global and other institutions in the B round of financingForteThe platform.
Forte allows game publishers to easily integrate blockchain technology into their games to enable seamless, embedable Token wallets, NFT casting and sales, payment tracks, and other service features built specifically for blockchain Token economy and management, And has partnered with various Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchain providers, including Ethereum and Polygon.
In addition, there are things likeElympics,MetaFab,Game Space,Arcnes,MetaEngineAnd other representative projects are also worth watching, as are two companies including South Korea:XPLAandPlanetarium LabsXPLA was developed by C2X, a web3 gaming platform owned by Com2uS.
Among them,ElympicsProvides infrastructure for multiplayer web3 games with a complete SDK toolkit ranging from secure network implementation, in-game wallet integration, on-chain game analysis and extension to blockchain integration. Elympics is also integrated with the Unity engine.
whileMetaFabWith a greater emphasis on integrating powerful blockchain infrastructure in minutes rather than months to provide a free, end-to-end, self-service service solution for games and gamified applications, MetaFab integrates not only the Unity engine, but also Unreal Engine 4.
It also offers a demo game, Arcane Survivor, in which things like player authentication, no gas transactions, in-game currency, NFT items, and a trading mall can be built within a week for any developer without blockchain experience.
Game SpaceIt aims to create the first GaaS (GameFi as a Service) platform, which offers an embedded version of the SDK that allows game companies to deploy their games to web3 in a week, saving months of development time, resources and costs.
In addition, Game Space employs SMPC (Secure Multi-Party Computing) technology to generate distributed private key shards to ensure that the original private key is available but not visible, that the private key shards are managed by multiple parties, and that the asset is secured thereby effectively avoiding a single point of risk caused by a single private key.
whileArcnesBy creating a technical infrastructure to help integrate web2 games with the blockchain stack, Arcnes also has incubation capabilities to support the release of utility tokens and NFT on its platform.
In addition, other projects of the same type are divided into the following 4 categories according to the different targeted services provided by web3 integration SDK vendors for game developers or publishers.
iPolloIt is a basic platform for the meta-universe, which provides massive computing power for 3D rendering and basic tool services for the creators of 3D world, especially asset trading services based on 3D NFT.
Ethereal EngineImmersive 3D commerce and VR combine the strengths of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, using their templates to quickly open a user's virtual store, creating a site directly from a Web browser and publishing it to other web pages without even 3D modeling or programming skills.
CanoeIt is a simple MetaFi integration with an upgradable SDK, whose toolkit engine + DeFi aggregate provides a responsive and intuitive interface that seamlessly Bridges between web2/web3 portals with a few lines of code to integrate accessible Metaverse financial services.
Unity, for example, was designed to create a high-performance gaming experience for all mobile devices, which is part of the reason why it has come from behind in the game engine space.
Mirror WorldThe Mirror World Smart SDK is a cross-platform interface supported by Matrix core engine (Matrix core engine consists of game development sandbox, smart contract and SDK, AI language and service model layer) for building mobile and web applications into the web3 architecture.
In addition, the Mirror World Smart SDK was primarily launched on Solana due to its lower cost, high TPS, and growing gaming ecosystem, although the SDK also supports multi-link and cross-platform ecosystems. And it offers Android, iOS, Unity, and a network that eliminates the complexity of authentication, NFT marketplace transactions, consumer entrances and exits, allowing mobile developers to focus on better integrating web3 into their games, DeFi, and NFT applications.
In addition, Mirror World creates an autonomous game ecosystem through AI-supported NFT interactions with users. Players can not only consume any AI-driven game content in Mirror World, but also earn useful Token MWM generated by playing the game.
In 2022, most web3 game projects lost more than 90% of their Token prices, and some traditional game developers don't know much about blockchain, especially when it comes to economic model design. Such asunix gamingPreviously a P2E guild, it realized that P2E was not the future of web3 gaming, and it transformed itself into a success story for some of the best games in the industry.
unix gaming currently helps developers launch web3 games through its OWNED SDK suite. The SDK is almost plug and play, low maintenance, and can be implemented by any developer from day one, while the SDK integrates Unity and Unreal Engine.
At the same time, the industry is learning from the past and addressing design issues in the game economy,Some of these projects also focus on the design and health of web3 games and app economies.
MachinationsProvide game economy health monitoring services for web3 games, predict the health of game economy and Token economics design pre-release, and constantly re-predict the long-term economic health and real-time operation of games after release.
Visions DAOIt optimizes the developer process with intuitive tools, a developer-friendly testing environment, and a powerful modular cryptoeconomy SDK that has been tested with AI/ML technology to ensure scalability and economic sustainability.
After strict testing of Token design and plug and play of web3 game mechanism, will reduce the risk of Token hyperinflation in the game, and with EVM-compatible blockchain to build a web3 game with interoperable function, can further benefit from the circular economy function.
MoonstreamMoonstream is the economic infrastructure for web3 games, allowing game developers to build, extend and monitor their own game economies through Moonstream.
In addition, as some web3 games mature, they will also provide services to use their experience to help more web2 game developers move to web3. Such as BigtimeOpen Loot, and the maker of the card game skyweaverHorizonsubordinateSequenceThe product.
Open LootIs an end-to-end solution for launching games under the Web3 economy, where game developers distribute their NFT without paying for gas through fixed price sales, auctions, airdrops or loot boxes, while players fund their account through their bank account, credit or debit card, and cryptocurrency.
SequenceIs an all-in-one web3 development stack and smart wallet for the Ethereum + EVM ecosystem. With Sequence, developers can easily build games, NFT, or other web3 applications.
When it comes to BigTime, Illuvium, and so many other well-known web3 games, it's not hard to see that these games are not fully on the chain. They should be called web2.5 or NFT games. In real on-chain games, every game object, every game interaction, and every game state change is recorded and executed on the chain, and the digital physics of the game and the entire underlying rules are defined in smart contracts.
This level of on-chain play not only makes the game completely decentralized, but also gives each player complete autonomy. The game will become the property of an active group of players, and anyone can build upon it or fork it to produce a completely different gameplay experience, all within the defined rules.
During last year's Ethereum Devcon6 conference, the Lattice team introduced a game engine specifically for on-build gamesMUD, which standardizes how data is stored on the chain. With this standard data model, a MUD can provide all network code to synchronize contract and client state, including directly from RPC nodes or the universal MUD indexer.
At that time, Lattice also conducted demonstrations, developing on-chain Minecraft game OPCraft and on-chain RTS game Sky Strife in a short period of time.
Not only are games a medium for developers to create and express themselves, and a space for players to socialize virtually, they are also at the forefront of technological application and innovation. In recent years, the native game engine technology and tools born in the process of game development are gradually applied to film and television, simulation, industry and other fields.
In the film and television industry, using game engines for virtual production has become increasingly popular. In 2021, Epic Games partnered with Warner to release a movie based on The Matrix: Matrix Reboot is a DEMO created by Unreal Engine 5, which creates a super-large, real-time interactive virtual world. It expands the folded reality scene in 3D space and presents a highly simulated state, which shocks many players and audiences.
In addition, there is the field of autonomous driving. More and more automobile companies use game engines to simulate a virtual world with high simulation of real scenes to conduct autonomous driving tests. As you can see, virtual space and the real world are entering a deeper and broader stage of integration, and games are further swallowing the world.
On the other hand, existing game engines are still far from capable or functional enough to create the "oasis" in Ready Player One. In addition, there is a hidden danger in the Oasis: the IOI Corporation in the movie, wants to own and control the servers and databases of the Oasis, where they can kick players, access any information, change the rules of the world, and print unlimited money for themselves.
And with Internet giants like Meta declaring themselves to be a metaverse company, this kind of centralized monopoly in the future doesn't seem far away. So in the web3 era, decentralized game engines and SDKS will become more and more important.