In this article, I will be explaining the journey of building a game on Komodo Platform technology. This article acts as a precursor to the upcoming conference where I will be speaking in-depth on the topic (The Global Mobile Games Industry Conference), a short independent film, and an article in one of the worlds leading tech magazines, plus a series of other publications.
RedFOX Labs is a blockchain venture builder that builds internet companies for the emerging markets of Southeast Asia. We began designing the game some 18 months ago and building approximately 1 year ago.
The game was designed in conjunction with the RFOX Games co-founder Adam ‘Arclegger’ Clegg and was designed to be a re-imagined version of a 90’s viral game and collectible. However, this time the game wouldn’t be physical, it would be digital AND 100% of the game logic would be on-chain and built for use on mobile phones.
The game tested on-chain
This was an ambitious feat but one worth the challenge considering the release of Komodos Antara Framework and Crypto Conditions we were able to achieve something considered not possible only a short few years ago. Made even more ambitious by the fact we were using only one Komodo Dev (Dimxy) and our own Josef Andre. Together they moved mountains to make the game a reality from the back end.
STARTING WITH A TEAM
This is the culmination of approximately 26 people, across more than 10 countries and 18 months of tireless work to pull this all together. In the grand scheme of things, what has been achieved on the tech side is phenomenal but the design, mechanics, art, and the IP all came from a dedicated global team.
The Tech Side — As previously stated, we were blessed to have Dimxy and Josef do all the heavy lifting from the back-end with expert guidance and advice where needed by JL777, who needs no introduction. This was a myriad of hurdles, challenges, reinventing wheels, and of course incredibly long hours and focused input. More recently we have been assisted by Alrightt from KMD Labs, which is an independent project in the Komodo ecosystem and does some amazing work testing solutions before they are released to the market.
The Front End — This is where all the design, art, mechanics, game-play theory, marketing, economies, structures, and co-ordination happens and for this part, it took a considerably larger workforce and MANY sleepless nights.
I would like to first take the time to introduce our partners and the talented developers at Whimsy Games who have been with us for the best part of a year, trying to make the visions we had a reality. Thanks to their dedication, willingness to learn and grasp our concepts, they made this game a reality. The partnership we have formed with them is one that will see them utilised across a number of future games and we are thrilled to have them work with us on building and creating visions together.
Our Gifted Artists- We used a number of talented and individual artists across a wide variety of genres and styles to pull the artwork together. A special thanks to Michael Melendez, Rare Designer, Thanh Quoc, Luca Laurence, Felix Malmborg, Marvin Eibl, Marko Zubak, Faridoon Masood, Saurabh Garwal, Harshit Puram.
The RedFOX Labs Team- To the wonderful team who put in ridiculous hours, were often sleep-deprived and drastically under-rewarded, I would like to thank you Josef Andre, Adam ‘Arclegger’ Clegg, Glen Pearce, Jon Brooks, Shaun Lee and Thanh Quoc and everyone else who put in and contributed.
BUILDING A GAME ON BLOCKCHAIN
Many would say, ‘don’t do it’. Others, ‘You’re mad’ but mostly they say ‘Why?’. Building a game on mobile, that runs smoothly, is scalable, lightweight, and doesn’t cost a fortune to run, would seem an impossibility. I actually wrote about this topic recently in Cointelegraph which you can find here
When Arclegger first came to us with an idea, we explained it was too expensive to build, too complicated and simply couldn’t be done on blockchain yet. So we went back to the drawing board, deep into the creative closet and came up with a game we thought was possible. Not probable, but possible. Overcoming challenges such as scalability, speed, security, and cost are enough to make you pull out your hair, then add to that you want to run it on mobile as a lite version and have 100% logic on-chain.
The Komodo platform is in rare-air when it comes to the features and the ability the platform has thanks to the development of the Antara Framework by core developer James Lee (JL777). This made it possible with some very creative solutions created by Dimxy and Josef Andre.
So how did we overcome some of those challenges and what have we added along the way?
TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS AND THE ACHIEVEMENTS
We knew Komodo would play an integral part in developing key components to this game and many other products along the way, which is why we created the Komodo Development Allocation of RFOX, which is 10% of the total supply. This ensures RedFOX Labs gets the support it needs and together we can develop open-source products and tools that other projects can benefit from.
One question that remained from day 1, was ‘would the front and back end work well together?’. We know how good the tech platform Komodo offers is and that it can be programmed to do almost anything, so we were confident that part would be possible with some hard work and some creative solutions. This was evidenced by one Komodo developer and one RedFOX Labs member doing most of the work themselves. That’s a) testimony to their excellent work and b) to the fact that Komodo is a versatile tech platform.
Where the challenge would come in was on the gaming side, the development, the mechanics, the game-play, and the art, etc but then how to plug that in and make a smooth user experience. The 26 man team, did an amazing job with this.
As is the case in any start-up we had to pivot many times, meaning we hit either technical hurdles, limitations, or integration issues and we were then required to re-scope, re-build, or change direction. This is very normal and when assessing how long it takes to build something of this scale, without any reference points or other projects having done this before it’s like estimating the length of a piece of string. We talk about some of those accomplishments here
Here are some of the key achievements that have been seen on the technical and blockchain side.
- 1) Improvements for libnSPV — What is that? Simply put we applied and advanced a super-lite version of Simple Payment Verification (SPV) that leverages Komodo’s dPoW security and enables highly resource-efficient SPV clients with full Komodo Smart Chain accessibility.
- 2) libnSPV Android Plugin — Integration code that enables the availability of libnSPV C-code in Unity C# projects for Android.
- 3) Unity Wrapper to enable blockchain functionality for Kogs in C# — Paving the way for a gaming SDK to allow game developers to build on our platform.
- 4) Mempool — To ensure a smooth and fast gameplay experience, we developed functionality for game states to be changed by transactions in the mempool, rather than only ones included in blocks.
- 5) Batch Transfers for NFTs — We have recycled and enhanced the functionality of the Tokens CC module to enable multiple NFTs to be sent in one transaction. Example — Being able to add 10 KOGs to 1 container as it’s created, rather than 1 at a time.
- 6) Game Objects — Creation of scaffolding code on top of tokens for accessing and managing game objects as NFTs. Example — Players, Containers, Games, etc.
- 7) RNG — Our Random Number Generator is a fully on-chain solution we have developed using the commit and reveal scheme. Example — A provably fair and decentralized method that combines the input of each player involved in a game to determine outcomes of game actions. We made sure to add enough “salt” to eliminate any rainbow attack vectors.
- 8) Matchmaking — We have enabled the ability for players to find each other on-chain to choose who their next victim is. After all, KOGs are a serious business.
RECOGNITION AND WHAT COMES NEXT
Despite little publicity to date, there was solid reasoning behind this. We wanted to make sure this worked and could be done the way we planned. It is important to note this is not a Komodo game or project, hence the reason why you wouldn’t have seen much promotion of the game by Komodo. All projects in the Komodo ecosystem are part of a decentralised network and are all independent.
Since the initial idea was developed we did this with interoperability in mind and wanted to bring attention to the Komodo ecosystem without looking like we are a Komodo game or that this was developed to benefit Komodo financially. The best way to do this was to talk about what we were doing publicly. After doing this we were inundated with platforms that wanted to promote this, take on a version, and also support what we were trying to do. We were truly grateful for the response and the sheer number of people who could see the vision and wanted to help us realise this. This was amazing and overwhelming for us and we know what this means for also bringing attention and developers to Komodo and also for the creation of new tools and a marketplace so artists, game designers, and other projects see Komodo as a viable and worthy option for building their next project.
We had to choose between a wide number of interested platforms to launch the concept on and the obvious choice to us was WAX as they are the leaders in the NFT space and have partnerships with Disney, Marvel, Google, Microsoft, Topps, and Animoca Brands. As a result of this we have been approached by a leading tech magazine, potential investors, been offered contracts, an animated series for our KOGs, a short film/documentary on how we built this game with Komodo, and much more that will be announced when agreements are official.
We sought the outside-in approach to help gain attention which benefits all involved. We would like to thank those in the Komodo community that has supported us, reached out to congratulate us, and thank us for bringing attention to the platform. We hope all that play the game will enjoy it as much as we have creating it.