Mar 202019
 
Neon District Founders Key

Neon District, one of the most hotly anticipated blockchain gaming platforms built on Ethereum and Loom network, has an ongoing registration for ‘Founder Key’. You can sign up for free here, only for the next 2 days. By signing up, you not only show an interest in Neon District, but will also get some really cool exclusive in-game assets. In addition, Founder Key holders will get exclusive early access and access to Founders Sale as well.

Neon District is created by the famous Marguerite deCourcelle, aka Coin Artist (coin_artist) who is well known in the broader blockchain and crypto community for her intriguing puzzles that can be solved to unlock Bitcoin or crypto.

Neon District is already valued at $13 million, with investments from the likes of investors like Ari Paul, who have raised hundreds of millions of dollars during the peak crypto boom of 2017.

Blockchain Gaming

Blockchain gaming is becoming increasingly complex and competitive, and serious game builders and developers are finding a home in this space. Blockchain native games with minimal gameplay like CryptoKitties have shown a proof of concept of what is possible. Games like Neon District are taking it to the next step.

There are of course several advantages of putting in-game assets on the blockchain. Interoperability with third-party applications, for example, is a huge one. Another is the aspect of ownership – even Neon District cannot arbitrarily stop you from trading your asset or selling it, so it represents property ownership rights as closely as possible, similar to the ‘real world’.

There are of course challenges like scalability. Neon District is using a Plasma Chain to build its app and make transactions, using the Loom Network. Loom has become the chain of choice for these types of games as it provides developer tools and onboarding for new games.

Get your Founder Key – for Free!

With this background in mind, all gamers and blockchain enthusiasts should sign up for Neon District’s Founder Key, over the next 2 days. It is free currently, and you’ll get some cool in-game assets to boast or sell. After all, it’s yours on the blockchain, and you can always sell it to buyers and game enthusiasts down the road!

Jan 232019
 
Axie Infinity Lunacia land sale LUNA

Axie Infinity one of the top blockchain-based games, launched the sale of parcels of land within its online virtual world, Lunacia. The total plots of land are limited, making them a highly sought after collectible and gaming item. The company opened the sale of 25% of the total land in Lunacia, with future sales planned for the rest of the year.

Utility and Rights

The land in Axie Infinity’s Lunacia is based on the ERC721 standard, which has become the default standard for issuing non-fungible tokens on Ethereum. However, unlike many other crypto-collectibles, the Land sold here has both immediate utility in the game and also a collectible value.

More interestingly, the land in Lunacia is like regular land in the ‘real world’ in that it also provides rights to assets tied to the land, and the use of that land by others. This means players could decide to passively hold land and still be rewarded by ‘loot’ collected by other players. For a more complete gameplay, check out this post by the team.

The additional utility and ability to own and collect assets passively has made Land in Axie Infinity much more appealing to both active crypto and non-crypto gamers, and also regular crypto investors who see the potential of the game and are generally bullish on blockchain gaming.

LUNA Token

The team also announced the launch of LUNA token, an ERC20 token on Ethereum with utility inside the Axie Infinity and Lunacia ecosystem.

By using a token for certain specific in-game assets and actions, the team is better able to control the economics of the game, and balance it with gameplay, while protecting existing players against unnecessary inflation. In addition, the team will give LUNA grants to third-party developers to help grow the ecosystem.

LUNA use cases Axie Infinity
LUNA Token Use Cases in the Axie Infinity/Lunacia Virtual World

Current Sale

The current sale already sold out around 20% of the total within a day. Parts of the land is expected to sell out in a few days, given its scarcity and general interest from the players.

If you buy Land in the pre-sale and use this link, you’ll get 10% of the ETH spent back as LUNA tokens, which you can use to buy land again, or hold on to the LUNA tokens for other uses shown above.

Jan 142019
 

CryptoKitties Third-Party Tools

Third party tools to play CryptoKitties are a must have whether you’re an experienced player, or new to the game. Being an Ethereum blockchain-based game, there are many tools for CryptoKitties that are independently developed by the players and the community.

There are several reasons to use these third-party tools instead of just using the main CryptoKitties website as a player. For one, the CryptoKitties website lacks a whole lot of information when it comes to what you need to know to play and breed well. Another advantage of using third-party tools is to bypass the main CryptoKittties website for breeding. This is essential for regular players since the main website is known to lag behind the blockchain, especially during peak play times (such as fancy chases), making competitive gameplay impossible. Luckily, many third-party tools have stepped in to fill the gap.

Here are some must-have tools for CryptoKitties players.

CKBox Extension

CK Box Data

This is probably the single most useful tool you need to really play CK. Believe it or not, it is actually not possible to see recessive genes for your cats on the main CryptoKitties website!

To solve for this, you need to install this extension. Once you’re inside a cat’s page on the main CryptoKitties website, you can click to reveal its full set of genes, including wild, environment, purrstige (which again you cannot see on the main CK website).

The developers also regularly add new features. For example, today it also shows a full history of the cat, such as previous sales, sires, marketplace listings, etc. In the cattributes page, you can see the full chart of all the mewtations possible with each category.

Overall, a must-have extension to play.

Heaven.Cat

This is quickly becoming a strong tool for searching and breeding, two very important functions that every CryptoKitties player needs, and also functions that are severely lacking in the main CK website.

For search, it has an easy to understand way to find recessive/hidden genes. Simply enter the cattribute you’re interested in, and check for hidden genes at various spots (you can select any of the hidden positions – H1, H2, or H3). You can also search for fancies.

Here’s an example showing how to search for all cats with Jaguar as the dominant trait, and otaku in the H1 hidden spot.

Heaven cat finder

The other tool that heaven.cat provides is a breeding tool. This lets you create and save breeding pairs, and tells you when the pairs are ready to breed again. This is especially useful during fancy chases. You can save all your pairs here, and with one click, breed a pair. An added advantage is the seems to perform well even when the main CryptoKitties website is down or lagging, so you can continue to breed.

Heaven cat breeder

Kittyexplorer

Kittyexplorer is a super useful website that shows the sales history of the various cats, and a bunch of statistics around the sales data. You can search by time period and by cattributes or fancies.

Kittyexplorer price history

Kittyhelper

Kittyhelper is a relatively new site that is integrating many of the tools that CK players need, from breeding calculators to price stats. It also has more advanced tools like family jewel search and offers history. Overall, seems like Kittyhelper is aiming to be the one-stop shop for all third-party CK needs.

Kittyhelper offers history

Kotobaza

Kotobaza is a Russian language CryptoKitty blog and resource, but also has lots of interesting information for the English speaking community. For example, it is one of the only sites where you can see the breakdown of the Boot fancy into the corresponding teams instead of being lumped together as one.

Kotobaza boot fancy

Cryptokitties.city

This is an interesting leaderboard that has moved the prices of fancies in the past, such as making the low # fancies much more valuable. It shows the different active players and how well they have created their fancy collections, such as completing the full fancy codex. An interesting tool to keep an eye out on the largest accounts as well. There are other leaderboards being added too.

Cryptokitties city fancy leaderboard

Gene Reader Spreadsheet

This is a spreadsheet that gives you the full details of a cat’s genes given the ID. It works when the CryptoKitties website is lagging, so it is a handy tool.

Gene Reader Spreadshee

Etherscan

Finally, let’s not forget Etherscan, the Ethereum community’s favorite tool! It has added support for ERC721s like CryptoKitties in addition to ERC20s. You can enter an address and see the list of all the cats owned by that address. If the CK website is lagging, you can use Etherscan to check for any new cats being born, and use that ID to look up the genes in the spreadsheet above.

Etherscan ERC721s CryptoKitties

These are just some of the third-party tools for CryptoKitties players, and there will be many more in the future we are sure. In the future, we hope there are more tools for collectors in addition to breeders.

Did we miss your favorite third-party tool? Let us know in the comments below.

Oct 082018
 

Gods Unchained Guide

Gods Unchained is a new blockchain-based trading card game. It follows the tradition of classic Trading Card Games (TCGs) like Magic the Gathering combined with crypto-collectibles and games like CryptoKitties. Combining them provides a powerful recipe where the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Already, the most desirable card was put for auction that fetched a cool 146 ETH or $60,000. That’s before the game was even launched. Welcome to Gods Unchained.

The Appeal of Crypto

The cards in the Gods Unchained game are represented as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) which means unlike a cryptocurrency that aims for fungibility (all units of the currency being equivalent), the tokens here are unique and different from each other. Therefore, each card is somehow different from the every other card in the game and this can be shown on the blockchain. The data stored in the NFT is then used to provide the appropriate look and functionality for the cards inside the game.

Before we dive deeper, let’s first answer the question that is probably one we get the most often on this blog – why crypto? What benefits does the blockchain provide over a SQL database, as the question goes? The answer in the case of Gods Unchained and similar crypto-native in-game assets is quite simple – with the blockchain, you have true ownership of your assets in the game. In the case of Gods Unchained, this means you own your cards completely.

Once you acquire a digital card in the game, it is truly yours. No one, not even the team behind Gods Unchained can prevent you from trading that card, for example. The dynamic becomes similar to physical cards in a game like Magic The Gathering. As some of these assets can indeed become quite valuable in the future, having them on the blockchain means collectors know they truly own these assets. It is not just another entry in a database of a startup.

Gameplay Elements

Gods Unchained has everything gamers aspire to. The game has various strategic elements where players need to apply skill (i.e. it is not just random chance). Also, the game visuals are stunning – just go check those out yourself to be the judge. The game is free to play for the basic cards, so accessible to really anyone with an internet connection. Players compete from around the world in a very real sense.

For any advanced cards, players truly own their assets in their Ethereum wallets – not even Gods Unchained team can take that away from you. There is a precedence for a healthy secondary market for these digital assets that players can use even after launch.

Then finally there is real tournament play, with 20,000 tickets already sold out. The pot for the tournament currently stands at around $350,000. That’s real money with real players right there.

If you’re a trading card game enthusiast, you’ll probably love what Gods Unchained has to offer.

Technology

We already mentioned the killer graphics, but there is much more to the technology behind the Gods Unchained game than meets the eye on the website. We’re talking about the blockchain for gameplay of course.

There are various schools of thought here, but in our opinion, Gods Unchained strikes the right balance between on-chain and off-chain elements. This is because blockchains are not yet ready for prime-time scalable applications. We’ve seen that play out in games like CryptoKitties that can become popular and cause an Ethereum network wide congestion, driving up costs to play to significant levels.

In Gods Unchained, the gameplay is offline on centralized servers. This means if there is a popular ICO going on, then players don’t need to wait for 2 days for gas prices to normalize. Also, playing can be free and not pay a huge amount of money to the miners. However, the assets are still held on the blockchain in your personal wallet, so the rare cards are not sitting on a central server somewhere but under your ownership.

The team behind Gods Unchained already has some experience with this – they were the team behind Etherbots, which caused a stir during release but died down due to expensive on-chain gameplay. The team seems to have learned the lessons from that well, and implementing it in their technology behind Gods Unchained.

The VCs are Circling

The VCs are quite interested in the whole NFT space. CryptoKitties raised $12 million from the top venture capitalists in the world – Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz among others. Marketplaces like Rarebits and OpenSea have raised over $1 million to create marketplaces for all sorts of NFTs. Fuel Games has already raised a $2.4 million venture round.

In addition to venture funding, the company has sold over $1 million in pre-sale cards already, and still counting. This is all raised from real players who are interested in participating in the game, not just institutions. This really shows that players are ready to invest not just their time but their money into the game.

Check out Gods Unchained here. You can still buy pre-sale cards right now.

Oct 072018
 

Axie Battle Feature Release

Axie Infinity, a crypto-game and collectible digital pet game on the blockchain, has launched its much awaited battle feature on the Ethereum mainnet. With this deployment, the feature is live for all players to use. The release follows months of testing internally and via limited and public beta with the community.

The battle feature lets players battle their Axies in an arena, 3 at a time, against an opponent. Axie battles are a complex mix of moves, statistics, and randomness, making them strategic and also including a component of luck.

Next Level of Crypto-Gaming

With the release of the battle feature, Axie Infinity distinguishes itself from the other crypto-gaming platforms like CryptoKitties. With the battle feature, players can actually improve their Axie over time through gameplay. This is a fairly novel implementation in the crypto-gaming space although it is common in regular gaming spheres.

With the battle feature, Axie Infinity has shown that it can become a real gaming platform instead of only a digital collectible. The Axies that participate in battles gain experience points or EXP. EXP is required for certain game features such as breeding and leveling up for the Axies. The Axies of the winning team gain 30 EXP whereas the Axies of the losing team gain 15 EXP. There is a limit of 3 battles every 12 hours per Axie.

Players are better off entering their Axies in a battle even if they lose against a stronger opponent. There is no indication of whether the battles can be fought for higher stakes than just EXP, such as Ether itself. For example, the more recent addition to crypto-gaming, Gods Unchained, has tournament play for Ether.

On and Off Blockchain

The ownership of the Axie is still on the Ethereum blockchain which means that Axie players are able to hold their Axies in their own custody instead of the company holding the assets. The Axies themselves are represented as a non-fungible token i.e. each token that represents an Axie has unique parameters.

However, the tournament play itself is offline on Axie Infinity’s servers. This provides for a significantly better gaming experience for the players as there are no delays and there is no cost to battle for the players. This also helps prevent gaming issues due to a congested blockchain due to scalability issues.

In the future, Axie Infinity plans to run their game on a plasma chain provided by Loom. Plasma enables applications like games to run on a separate ‘chain’ as a sidechain instead of taking up space on the main Ethereum chain. Several implementations of plasma are expected to go live over the coming months on Ethereum.

Oct 012018
 

Gods Unchained

We had the opportunity to interview Tyler Perkins of Gods Unchained. For those who are out of the loop, Gods Unchained is a new crypto-game that has been the talk of the NFT town. It is a crypto trading card game where the cards are stored on the Ethereum blockchain, which means players ultimately own their in-game assets. It has already amassed an impressive pre-sale of assets. The top card has already sold for an impressive $60,000 – even before the game launched! The team is an impressive array of gaming and crypto veterans.

Check out the Gods Unchained game to learn more and participate.

Tell us a little bit about the team behind Gods Unchained and Fuelgames

Currently we have 18 people working full time and nearly 100 contracted artists. Every full-time member on our team has a technical background (from various backgrounds) and most of us are TCG fanatics having played them for years.

What are some of the features of Gods Unchained that you’re most excited about?

I think everyone on the team is excited about different things for different reasons, but generally speaking trading is one of the features we’re most excited about given it’s one of the main value propositions of tokenization.

How much of the gameplay is run directly on Ethereum versus things running on your own servers?

Game assets such as cards and cosmetics will be stored on Ethereum, while the game itself runs entirely off-chain to ensure the highest deliverable performance.

We’ve seen some spikes in gas prices on Ethereum that have disrupted user experience. Any thoughts on how you see scaling in light of games like Gods Unchained being released on Ethereum mainnet?

It’s really up to game developers to ensure their games scale and the user experience isn’t broken under these situations. As we’ve witnessed multiple times in the past, you can’t yet rely on Ethereum’s performance, which is why we’ve developed solutions to both mitigate the frustrations these events have on players as well as moved gameplay off-chain.

CryptoKitties got a lot of mainstream media attention late last year. Did that surprise you? How did you view the success of CK and how did it affect any decisions in Gods Unchained?

It wasn’t really a surprise given how novel crypto-collectibles were and how well Axiom Zen executed on it. CK was a major inspiration for us as it provided the ah-ha moment that gaming would be a killer application within the industry.

You’re also the team behind Etherbots correct? What lessons did you learn from your experience of Etherbots? Would you consider Etherbots a success?

It taught us how hard building games on Ethereum is, and provided us with an environment to develop best practices and architectural solutions to overcoming many of the blockchains limitations.

Tell us a bit more about the Gods Unchained World Championship.

We haven’t announced much about the World Championship yet, stay tuned!

How do you enable free playing of the game, while there are cards that are in demand and trading in the marketplace?

The core set is our untradable free to play set. You receive core cards when you create an account and can earn others through gameplay. Unlike cards you find in packs, core cards are not ERC721’s as we want to minimize the friction new players encounter when trying to play the game for the first time.

Tell us a bit more about how new cards are generated, and how players can acquire them.

We will have 4 seasons every year, where each season we release approximately 100 new cards that can be found inside packs. Once a season ends, the cards found that season are no longer minted. Players will have the ability to earn tradable cards for strong gameplay performance.

Sep 122018
 

CryptoKitties, the popular gaming and collectible app where players breed cats on the Ethereum blockchain has reached the one million cat milestone – less than a year after launch. The game became hugely popular in December 2017, coinciding with the peak of the crypto bubble. It has subsequently lost over 90% of the players active at the peak. However, a set of core players continue to breed and collect CryptoKitties.

On the back of its December success, the company behind CryptoKitties, Axiom Zen, raised a $12 million round led by the famed venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. During the same time, the game’s popularity led to a significant increase in fees on Ethereum.

Beyond the Hype

Although interest in the game has waned since the peak, the game continues to attract new users. Just last week, collectors bid up the prices of #1 fancy cats in the game to as high as 30 ETH per cat. CryptoKitties was one of the first blockchain games to master the correct use for ERC721 non-fungible tokens. Since its launch, many copycats have launched without much success.

Axiom Zen encouraged players to breed more to reach the one million cat milestone. This was done via a giveaway of 20 exclusive cats. Exclusive cats have a custom artwork on the frontend instead of the appearance of the cat being determined by the genes. These are generally valued by collectors due to their rarity. ‘Kitten Mittens’, the most prolific breeder in the game, won the first exclusive during this giveaway.

Vulcant exclusive cryptokitties

Leading the Way

CryptoKitties continues to be one of the most popular applications built on Ethereum. The success of CryptoKitties has encouraged many other entrepreneurs to work on gaming products on the blockchain. The advantage of using the blockchain is that players are in control of their in-game assets. How much of a game changer this is for traditional online games remains to be seen. The trade-off is the cost. For example, in CryptoKitties, it takes 0.008 ETH to breed a single cat.

Other games are exploring ways to minimize the cost of gameplay by handling more of the interactions off-chain. Even though the ‘genetic’ data of the cats in CryptoKitties is stored on the blockchain, the actual image of the cat isn’t and the ‘owners’ don’t actually have the rights to that image.

Gaming vs. Collectables

CryptoKitties has tried to balance the collecting aspects with the gaming aspects from the beginning. Most of the high value transactions on CryptoKitties tend to be from collectors or speculators. Axiom Zen has introduced ‘fancies’ in the game as a way to encourage continued breeding. ‘Fancies’ are cats with a specific pre-determined trait combination, as determined by the company. This information is not decentralized or stored on the blockchain, however. These fancy cats have their special custom artwork.

These fancy cats also tend to be one of the most expensive set of cats to be traded. This is because of their special artwork and also because the number of fancies of each type are limited.

As CryptoKitties continues to gain traction, there are third-party applications being built on top that help players with the game or for the collecting aspect of it.

Aug 292018
 

CryptoKitties, the popular game of breeding and collecting cats on the Ethereum blockchain, has seen a huge surge of sales over the last couple of days, driven by demand for its ‘fancies’. According to the community created website Kitty Explorer, over 693 fancy cats changed hands within the last week, with the maximum price of 20 ETH.

Fancy cats are special cats created in the CryptoKitties app that can be bred using a specific combination of genes until a limit is reached (limit can be time-based or total number of fancy cats based). Fancy cat recipes are created by Axiom Zen, the creator of CryptoKitties, and is not recorded on the blockchain per se. The actual ownership of the cats in CryptoKitties is recorded on the blockchain, and players use third-party extensions like Metamask to buy, sell, and breed the digital cats.

CryptoKitties received a lot of press in December 2017 when a single cat sold for over $100,000. For a while, its popularity caused significant delays on the Ethereum blockchain and increased the gas price. Since those days, however, the activity on the game has dropped precipitously.

Fancy Cat Craze

Over the last two days, even though the number of players measured by unique addresses hasn’t gone up much, the total sales volume has exploded. This has mostly been due to a few CryptoKitties players valuing specific ‘fancies’ – the ones that were the earliest created. Axiom Zen marks the fancies in the order in which they were bred. The first created fancies of each type are suddenly being valued at significant amounts.

Players have sold the #1 fancy cats for over 20 ETH over the last two days – over $5000 per cat. This may seem like a far cry from its heyday. However, many ordinary players have participated in these fancy sales over the last few days. At least when it comes to the fancy market, CryptoKitties may just be bucking the broader crypto bear market.

Value in the Eyes of the Beholder

CryptoKitties has several dimensions of rarity for the cats. Collectors value different things in the cats, from generation to genes. Fancy cats have a unique appearance on the CryptoKitties app and are therefore valued higher by collectors.

Up until now, most of the fancy cats were valued based on generation and condition. A lower generation was usually valued higher, and cats in mint condition, i.e. cats that hadn’t bred, were valued higher. Over the last few days, however, collectors began swooping up lower numbered fancies irrespective of their generation and condition. Part of the reason may be due to a leader-board created at cryptokitties.city website, managed by a community member.

Whether the trend can last remains to be seen. For one, new fancy cats are minted at the discretion of Axiom Zen, and therefore there is no limit per se to the number of #1 fancies. This is unlike the fancy cats themselves that have a limit. For example, the rarest fancy cat in the game is Schrodinger Cat – only 73 of those exist and can ever be created.

There may also be a rebalancing of value within the game. Factors like generation and condition may once again become more important in valuing fancy cats. At the end of the day, however, cats are as valuable as collectors and speculators are willing to pay for them. If collectors value specific attributes more than others, the market will follow. Right now, it seems like that is lower numbered fancies.