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Author Topic: Crowd-fund a Bitcoin-centric game (a proposal)  (Read 3322 times)
Nyhm
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September 11, 2012, 03:33:47 AM
 #1

Inspired by this topic on Bitcoin and crowdfunding, and somewhat related to my recent Kickstarter topic, I wrote a proposal to the Bitcoin community to crowd-fund a Bitcoin-centric game:

http://www.potentialgames.com/bitcoingame/

As I've stated in my proposal, I will take this quite seriously and professionally (all via Potential Games LLC), if there is serious interest from the community.

At this point, this is just a discussion. It might not lead to anything, but I think it will be an interesting topic.

Update: Revisited this today (Dec 27, 2012). Early 2013 would be an ideal time to bootstrap a new game project, so please let me know if there is interest.

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Coinabul
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September 11, 2012, 03:58:38 AM
 #2

Make me a Diablo 2 clone that accepts Bitcoin and I'll eat it up.

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Nyhm
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September 11, 2012, 04:04:02 AM
 #3

Make me a Diablo 2 clone that accepts Bitcoin and I'll eat it up.

Yes, I totally agree... However, I should clarify.

I am not a AAA studio. I have a nice simple game design in mind. I'm not reinventing the wheel with the design or trying to shock the world with a never-before-seen game concept.

This is a very humble proposal. Sorry for the vagueness, but I'm just testing the waters here. If the community is behind me, then I'm all-in (and it's not poker/gambling). In fact, my ideas will probably change with community input, and I'm totally open to that.

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September 11, 2012, 04:16:51 AM
 #4

Make me a Diablo 2 clone that accepts Bitcoin and I'll eat it up.

Yes, I totally agree... However, I should clarify.

I am not a AAA studio. I have a nice simple game design in mind. I'm not reinventing the wheel with the design or trying to shock the world with a never-before-seen game concept.

This is a very humble proposal. Sorry for the vagueness, but I'm just testing the waters here. If the community is behind me, then I'm all-in (and it's not poker/gambling). In fact, my ideas will probably change with community input, and I'm totally open to that.

Well, my second suggestion was poker related >_>

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September 11, 2012, 11:19:58 AM
 #5

How would Bitcoins be distributed in the game?

Would players pay in Bitcoins when they join or on a regular basis?

If it's going to be an RPG-style game then it must be reasonably fair to all players. Otherwise you might get a situation where the high level PCs grab all the Bitcoins from the noobs.


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Nyhm
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September 11, 2012, 02:23:40 PM
 #6

Make regnum online with ryzoms ai and spell/item crafting with bitcoin as the currency and I'm in Smiley

I hadn't seen Regnum before, so thanks for the pointer. However, that's beyond what I could provide.

Well, my second suggestion was poker related >_>

OK, anyone want to hire me to build a Bitcoin poker engine? This would be a separate contract-based arrangement, not part of this crowd-funding proposal, though. Like I said, I'm effectively looking for work hours!

How would Bitcoins be distributed in the game?
Would players pay in Bitcoins when they join or on a regular basis?
If it's going to be an RPG-style game then it must be reasonably fair to all players. Otherwise you might get a situation where the high level PCs grab all the Bitcoins from the noobs.

RPG gameplay has a lot of overhead, and the currency would just become a subtext of the world. I'm planning more of an economic-based game. (I also have some designs for a military game, but I think economic might be the way to really embrace the Bitcoin aspect.)

Without getting into the setting, players would spend bitcoins to give themselves the means to earn more in the world. But, it's a balance: how much to put in for how much reward you think you can achieve (return on investment). A trouble with RPGs is that the richest player wins. In my (still speculative) game design, you could buy in with lots of BTC if you want, but if you over-spend, then you'll never actually make back what you put in.

In a very abstract sense, the world economy acts as a pool. By playing, you can get coin from the pool. One issue is that if the pool runs dry, then the economy fizzles out. I have a couple thoughts on this, which I think would actually make the game pretty interesting... sorry so vague.

If this proposal gets off the ground at all, the first thing I'll do is make a public game design document, so everyone can provide input. I'm sure there are lots of Bitcoin experts that will think of really interesting economic concepts for such a framework, and if this is crowd-funded, then I'm certainly open to public opinion!

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bracek
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September 11, 2012, 02:37:57 PM
 #7

how about a game like anno1777 ?
it looks sustainable, players get real money in and out,
I can't quite get the busyness model, but players are happy
markm
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September 11, 2012, 02:46:25 PM
 #8

The nice thing about an economic/finance game is that it dangles the tantalising idea of being self-funding.

Basically the funding of the game itself can be part of the game itself.

That is the main reason really why the whole "implement actual banks and stock exchanges for the cities using Open Transactions" focus came about really: hanging around bitcoin made me realise that speculating is a very popular game in and of itself thus just having the financial markets up and running might well go much farther toward financing the game than any amount of 3d graphics development, combat system implementation, client and server adaptation and so on and so on and so on that the overall Milieu ultimately calls for.

-MarkM-

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Nyhm
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September 11, 2012, 03:08:00 PM
 #9

how about a game like anno1777 ?
it looks sustainable, players get real money in and out,
I can't quite get the busyness model, but players are happy

Wow, anno1777 sounds intriguing from the feature list. However, the site shows nothing of the game itself. From the description, it sounds like if that's what you want, just play anno1777! Sounds very hard-core though, in terms of the environment. My idea is rather more light.

The nice thing about an economic/finance game is that it dangles the tantalising idea of being self-funding...

Hi MarkM - as always, you have very good insights. Indeed, I want to stay away from too many game mechanics. I have in mind an improve-your-situation tycoon type of approach (in a world setting that I'm keeping shrouded in mystery for the moment, but which won't really surprise anyone once I disclose it). It needs to be accessible to end-users.

I think the game needs to take place in one single world (not fractured amongst private servers), to support a single thriving economy. On the technical front, I'm considering that the server should provide an open protocol, allowing anyone to write clients to the API. Whether that makes sense to the gameplay will have to be considered. On one hand, you can't really stop folks from writing bots, so you might as well embrace it. On the other hand, the game design and user experience must not suffer from scripted players.

Sorry, thoughts on world structure and game framework is a bit preliminary. Just something that was on my mind, contemplating MarkM's comments.

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markm
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September 11, 2012, 03:24:52 PM
 #10

A lesson that EVE Online seems to have taught is that, unfortunately, self-improving tycoons does not seem to be a good model from the point of view of investors. It is great for the tycoons themselves, running around ripping off people who are fool enough to invest in them, but not great for any stock markets that trade in the "securities" such tycoons offer. Smiley

Thus I have been examining the possibility that one might be able to relieve the tycoons of much of their ability to rip off investors at the same time as, and by the same mechanism(s) as, one might be able to simplify the system, at least initially. given that initially financing the game is important in order for there to be a game at all.

So I have been looking at ways to allow "tycoons" some sense of being at the tiller of a Corp while at the same time presenting to them only such choices as are not inconsistent with the best interests of stockholders...

-MarkM-

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bracek
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September 11, 2012, 03:38:37 PM
 #11

how about a game like anno1777 ?
it looks sustainable, players get real money in and out,
I can't quite get the busyness model, but players are happy

Wow, anno1777 sounds intriguing from the feature list. However, the site shows nothing of the game itself. From the description, it sounds like if that's what you want, just play anno1777! Sounds very hard-core though, in terms of the environment. My idea is rather more light.


I am playing it, and it is not so heavy as it might seem,
player only has his 1 page with 20 buttons,
"buy food", "go to work", "rent a house", "attack" and status is printed in text,
there is no graphics at all, only a few places where timer is running

there is probably a lot of work on database in the background,
in coordination of all different aspects of the game.

if they only accepted bitcoin...

one nice idea from anno is that they pay dividend to shareholders of the game,
shares and dividends are handled directly within the game, player has a button to buy or sell shares at all times
dividends are paid after game fund reaches 10k eur, it happens at least once a month, and dividends pay 1 cent per share,
one share is 32 cents, so it is quite impressive,

it has been going on for a few years now, and seems sustainable
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September 11, 2012, 03:48:45 PM
 #12

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Nyhm
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September 11, 2012, 04:08:25 PM
 #13

Thanks for explaining ano1777, bracek. Quite a radical concept. It's great that so many folks are into it. Still, I don't think it's very inviting to casual users, which is an aspect I feel is important to the goal we're trying to achieve here. I envision something a little more mainstream in its appeal and appearance.

Examples like this, and what MarkM said about EVE, are very useful in determining what the game should (and should not) be. I generally have a strong sense of direction (particularly for aspects that should be avoided), but specific economic/gameplay models are certainly open to discussion.

My concept is not about being a Wall Street broker or banker; too stuffy. I use the term tycoon in the most general sense, such as Rollercoaster Tycoon and Railroad Tycoon (except that it's not about building infrastructure).

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Nyhm
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September 11, 2012, 05:05:57 PM
 #14

I think the game needs to take place in one single world (not fractured amongst private servers), to support a single thriving economy. On the technical front, I'm considering that the server should provide an open protocol, allowing anyone to write clients to the API....
Something worth considering is a serverless system, a peer to peer game world. So far its been unachievable for anything approaching a realtime system, the experts claim its impossible. Regnums biggest problem so far is network code, to fix it they used TCP packets only and did away with UDP, something the experts also said was impossible.

If something like Regnum could be made p2p I would put just about everything I could afford into it, a few years ago it was a really great and original game but the dev's had to bow to the wishes of publishers and many players from other mmo's and 'make it more like...' :/

I was anticipating someone suggesting a serverless p2p game. Very good points, stan.distortion.

I actually had a strong concept for such a framework a couple weeks ago. I wrote it down, but have not yet revisited the idea. I agree that this architecture would truly embrace Bitcoin (and I have a gameplay setting that could fit the environment), but I think maybe it's too radical for a first step.

But, that's what this topic is all about! What do folks want to see, a more traditional client-server game (with focus on more accessible gameplay), or a p2p architecture (which would take more technical crafting, and the gameplay would likely be a bit more experimental, because it would have to fit a rather non-traditional online gaming framework).

I have an academic background in distributed game protocols (part of my thesis work), but I think it's more difficult and risky... not that that's ever stopped me before.

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September 11, 2012, 05:12:53 PM
 #15

yes, p2p for sure, to avoid problems with legality,

and u must have a concept that includes giving away bitcoin dust for free,
to a lot of players , so you can have player base,
base your economy on beggars and you won't go bust Smiley

something lik winning players could have helpers or whatever,
and they then leave some dust behind for followers/helpers to collect

like in sea, sharks have small fish trailing along for chunks that fall behind after feast
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September 11, 2012, 05:21:57 PM
 #16

I have been playing a self developed hex strategy game with the family for years. I could license it cheap to you if you want.

I have some java code, icons and graphics you might be able to use too (free).

Its pretty simple, but you have terrain, area effects and different unit abilities... like pokemon on a hex board perhaps. I developed it from stratego, but made all units more unique and interactive.

My idea was to make people bet a little btc on winning or others winning.

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September 11, 2012, 05:37:37 PM
 #17

yes, p2p for sure, to avoid problems with legality,

and u must have a concept that includes giving away bitcoin dust for free,
to a lot of players , so you can have player base,
base your economy on beggars and you won't go bust Smiley

something lik winning players could have helpers or whatever,
and they then leave some dust behind for followers/helpers to collect

like in sea, sharks have small fish trailing along for chunks that fall behind after feast

While p2p is often touted as a way to circumvent laws, and some folks may wish to hide behind the pseudo-anonymity of Bitcoin, that is not an aspect of this proposal. That said, this is a very important point of discussion, as legal issues are some of the the most difficult and expensive aspects of running any business, more-so with Bitcoin because it doesn't have a lot of legal precedence.

Initial bootstrapping of the economy is important. I've considered gameplay elements to support followers/helpers, in fact. Your concept that "winning" leaves behind something for the small fish is a very interesting idea.

I have been playing a self developed hex strategy game with the family for years. I could license it cheap to you if you want.

I have some java code, icons and graphics you might be able to use too (free).

Its pretty simple, but you have terrain, area effects and different unit abilities... like pokemon on a hex board perhaps. I developed it from stratego, but made all units more unique and interactive.

My idea was to make people bet a little btc on winning or others winning.

I do have a separate military-based game idea in mind (mentioned above), so your comments are certainly open for discussion. However, I have a more gameplay-integrated concept than just placing bets.

I'm going to step away from this discussion for a bit, and see if the community has a consensus on:

  • Economic vs. Military gameplay
  • Single world vs. Session-based
  • Client-server vs. p2p

My vote is for the bold elements. I've basically ruled out RPG and gambling games, but compelling concepts are still welcome.

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September 11, 2012, 05:48:52 PM
 #18

hihi, want me advice? Forget about doing things like Eve Online clone or anything MMO, or too involved strategy wise, we ain't no Sid Meier. That stuf is all pie in the sky. Want you want is a simple mobile app along the lines of Temple Run or Draw Something. Android and iPhone. Doesn't have to be too original, copy ideas liberally from other top games on the leader board. Maybe connect to other bitcoin apps on the device. The fact that it uses bitcoin itself will give it a good initial marketing boost and sustain its momentum in the early days. Any more info, let me know.

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September 11, 2012, 06:08:01 PM
 #19

Quote from: Nyhm link=topic=108540.msg1182005#msg1182005
However, I have a more gameplay-integrated concept than just placing bets.
You can do anything you want with my material.

  • Military gameplay
Single world
Client-server
[/list]

Quote
My vote is for the bold elements. I've basically ruled out RPG and gambling games, but compelling concepts are still welcome.
Sounds to me like you already made a decision, maybe share your idea, no one will steal it.

You could probably use mine quite effectively in a persistent metagame with lots of economics though.

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September 11, 2012, 07:04:28 PM
 #20

I said I'd step back, but I just can't. Too many good comments.

@stan, I know exactly where you're coming from, but digital objects are definitely beyond the scope here. Exciting to think about, though!

@SuperHakka: Yep, see my initial comments; I agree entirely. That's precisely in line with my thoughts. Simplicity is my mantra.

@Realpra: You're right. It's too open-ended for committee-style direction. What I wanted to learn is whether there is interest. Clearly there is.

I will take the helm and steer the ship: I propose an Economic, Single-world, Client-server, Bitcoin-centric world. More about the setting later.

Crowd-funding was my initial motivation/context for this topic, but honestly, I'm not convinced it's very realistic. By all means, prove me wrong! If the community were to throw hundreds of BTC donations at me, OK, then I'm on board! Donations would be the easiest way for me to get underway, because there would be no legal strings attached, and I already have a business structure (Potential Games LLC) through which I could do all the development, keeping everything on the up-and-up.

Investors and other funding options are much too complicated/risky for me to get into at this stage.  It is my professional aspiration to make a name for myself in the field of Bitcoin software development, and I'd love to make a living developing Bitcoin applications (games or otherwise), but I must choose a path that brings in a reliable income, which probably doesn't leave time for other endeavors.

Funding suggestions welcome.

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