Man’s best friend meets the blockchain, could this be the future of decentralized video games?
We’ve gone over the Plasma Network in previous videos, but the short version is that it is a second layer solution designed to limit the amount of times the network has to sync with the blockchain, saving fees.
I’ve played video games my whole life, and it makes me cringe to think how much time I wasted gathering in-game assets that I would only use for a short amount of time. You stop playing, those assets become worthless to you. There’s no way to really get rewarded for your hard work because, with most games, you cannot transfer in-game assets to other users. Basically, you don’t own your in-game items or currency. The real owners of your of your game assets belong to corporations like EA, and they just completely suck.
Hoard, a more forward-thinking game development studio, has utilized the Plasma Network in order to create a game where users truly get to experience the blockchain.
Now you can play as a furry little hero who goes around his world helping out his blockchain friends, fighting malicious actors, and collecting UTXO tokens. And that’s where the cool part comes in. If you’re familiar with video games, you probably know that there are some in-game tokens that you are trying to obtain. For Mario it’s gold coins, Sonic the Hedgehog collects rings, and Plasma Dog collects these UTXO tokens.
And that’s where the Plasma Network and Ethereum do their magic. Upon running the game, an Ethereum wallet is created. While the gameplay isn’t decentralized, the mechanism for storing tokens is decentralized. Each time you get a UTXO token, it isn’t just recorded to the game’s servers, but that token is also sent to the Ethereum address that you control. On the screen, there are actually two numbers representing your coin count. The first represents the state with tokens you have collected, and the second indicates how many of those tokens have been written to the chain via the Plasma Network.
16-bit Gaming Glory!
I got the opportunity to play Plasma Dog, and overall, it was a pretty fun, well-made side-scroller reminiscent of the days of 16-bit gaming. Not only does the game rely on decentralized technology to store your tokens, but the actual game is loosely based on blockchain concepts. That’s right, Plasma Dog teaches you something about blockchain technology, but does so in an enjoyable manner.
Plasma dog isn’t perfect, however. I tried the game multiple times over the week, and my experience varied each time. First time I played the game, it went off without a hitch, and it was inspiring to see something being built with the values of decentralization and asset ownership in mind.
My next sessions did not go so well. The second time I played, the controls were laggy, and that made the game pretty much unplayable. The game crossed into unplayable territory later in the week as it wouldn’t even load properly. A couple days later the game was moved to another domain and was back to smooth sailing.
This whole experience is really a reflection on the available dApps as a whole. While these applications are being built, they are still a work in progress. A lot of bugs have to be worked out. Currently, most projects have at least one major functionality issue that they are trying to address. And the fact that parent chains have not found a scaling solution doesn’t help.
That’s the pessimist’s view. If you want to look from dApp progress in a “glass half full” viewpoint, you may see things a little bit differently.
Plasma Dog is a working project in a time where most projects are stuck in the concept phase.
It’s not fair to evaluate dApps as completed projects. They are all works in progress because decentralized and blockchain technologies are works in progress. If you see leaps happen with the technology, that’s one more leap that dApps will be allowed to make.