Behind the chain of "dumb fire": a blockchain developer struggles with funds, users, and technology

Last month, Tencent launched a game called "Catch the Demon Together". On the day of the launch, it was ranked first in the game list, and set off a "catch of demon".

Although there is not much blockchain in the blockchain with the blockchain, the game that was prepared as early as April last year, in terms of quality, creativity, and user size, All make blockchain games far behind.

Throughout the blockchain ecology, the long-term DApp data statistics top, is still spinach, quiz games, hacking incidents from time to time, but also make such games on the "edge of crisis."

“Funding is the number one problem for blockchain developers.” BLOCKLORDS producer Nicky told 31QU that the spinach game has a surprisingly short-term effect, but it is not long-lasting. In the case of a downturn, the chain tour team is still struggling to make a profit.

On the other hand, the absolute advantages of several major public chains have not yet appeared, and users are scattered all over the public chain. For the DApp development team, it is not realistic to develop games on only one public chain, but “all-round developers are scarce”, DApp “Migration is difficult”.

Funds, users, and technology have gradually become three stumbling blocks in front of the team. In the second half of last year, there were still so many extraordinary projects. Many of them had been dumb and the team had to temporarily exit.

Text / 31QU Lin Jun

Looking for funds

According to statistics from DAppReview, during the Spring Festival of 2018, the average daily transaction volume of several major public chains decreased by 60-70% compared with December. After the madness of the second half of last year, the popularity of DApp dropped nearly half, without the effect of riches. After that, the funding problem of the DApp startup team appeared.

Previously, DApp once popularized the “pre-sale” package, which sold “value-for-money packages” containing props, coupons, tokens, etc. before the game went live. The team first received an income to support the subsequent development. As the DApp heats up, the appeal of this model is diminishing.

"We also thought about this model, but in the end we found that there was a gap with expectations, and we gave up." Nicky told 31QU that for strategy games, the pre-sale model is unfair to players who come back, so this is not used. Ways.

Fortunately, the two developer contests brought them "starting funds."

“When we participated in the competition, we were holding the award-winning purpose.” Nicky was still excited when recalling the original intentions and achievements. The team was just formed, just in time for NEO to hold the first developer contest, they finally I got a bonus of 500,000 yuan.

At the end of last year, the team participated in the “TRONAccelerator” online DApp Developer Contest held by the wave field, and once again won a prize of US$30,000.

The other teams that participated in the same period were not so smooth. “The project that participated in the NEO Developer Contest with us in the past, except for one or two survivors, most of them have disappeared,” Nicky said. Later, they did not see any news about their online games. “It is estimated that they have given up. ".

If it is not the bonus of these two competitions, the follow-up development of BLOCKLORDS may not be so smooth. "We have contacted several investors, but now the market basically wants to see the finished game and user data first. Decide whether to invest,” Nicky said, but for DApp, the early stage is the stage of urgent need for funds. “How can I have products without money?”

One of the developers who have been admitted in November last year, the current developer Bai Hao told 31QU that since the game was on fire for a while in December last year, after attracting a group of players, "there are not many people playing now." Frankly, although "new gameplay will be introduced every week, the game is not the main job of the team."

In their in-game test group, there are also active players from time to time to chat, let the group friends talk about EOS and the current game, but talk about EOS, the future of the chain game players come and go less, administrators occasionally appear, reply users When asked many times about the question "Do you want to introduce a new game recently?", one sentence will be left: "Today, keeping cash flow is the most important thing."

Without the ample funds, the Shaoxia team that has stopped the game has already left, and the current status is “wait and see”.

They developed a card game last year. Due to the sharp drop in players and the inability to pay for the cover, the heat lasted only two weeks. Finally, the project was hurriedly stopped in the face of the player's horror. Now more than three months have passed, Shao Xia still does not see the right time, can only "wait and see."

Where are the incremental users?

In addition to funding, the DApp team also needs to address customer issues.

An investor who is deeply involved in the development of EOS sidechains told 31 QU that the overall data of EOS's DApp has dropped by 20~30% per month this year. Finding incremental users has become the most urgent thing in the public chain.

Some time ago, a quiz game based on wave field development occupied the top spot in the wave field DApp. The game customer service minibus told 31QU that their users are mainly overseas. He further revealed that "in fact, there are very few domestic users, few." After only 2 days, 31QU revisited the quiz game rankings, which have fallen from the top spot on the wave table list to the 5th place.

Even the gambling and quiz games are less attractive, and are there other opportunities for chain tours?

The Nicky team is looking for quality products. It is understood that they are developing an epic strategy blockchain game based on the European medieval background – BLOCKLORDS.

BLOCKLORDS game interface

According to Nicky, the whole project is progressing smoothly. The game is only available for one week and has not been promoted. “The transaction volume is more than one thousand, and the transaction volume is more than 40,000 Tron.”

This is already a good result.

According to DAppreview's recently released 2019Q1 DApp data report, if the daily transaction amount is used as the screening standard, the data can be filtered to obtain the conclusion that “the daily public users of each public chain are between 3000 and 6000”.

For a long time, the use of thresholds has restricted the scale of DApp to a certain extent. "For example, if a new user wants to play DApp, you need to let him know about cryptocurrencies, wallets, and even EOS accounts, RAM, etc. For users who are not familiar with the blockchain, this will keep many players out of the game. Bai Hao told 31QU that there is no good solution to this problem.

Before entering the blockchain, Nicky served as the operation director of a well-known game company in China. At the end of 2017, CrytoKitties detonated the game circle. After consulting with several partners, he decided to enter the circle to do chain tour. The team 6~7 Members, happens to be the size of an independent studio.

He told 31QU that BLOCKLORDS is currently aimed at overseas users and may have some thresholds for domestic users. “The previous work of our team members was to do overseas localization of domestic games and have a deeper understanding of overseas players.”

Nicky said, "The difference between overseas players and domestic players is that they pay more attention to the game's 'playability'."

"From the launch of the project to the launch, we have been synchronizing with the players on Twitter. We have posted messages from players in Japan and Peru, and we are expecting our games to go online." Nicky said that they hope to unite their core fans and use their word of mouth. Spread the game out and wait for the overseas market, they will launch the Chinese version.

DApp migration difficulty

In addition to funding users, chain travel development will also encounter talent and unique "cross-chain" issues.

"There are not many developers in the country."

A chain travel developer analyzed that the problem of chain slag and operation delay is not only due to the limitation of the performance of the public chain, on the other hand, "due to the different development languages ​​of different public chains, it is difficult to find Java on the market, A versatile programmer in languages ​​such as Python and C#."

At the end of 2017, after seeing that a kitten could set off a discussion among the whole people, Chen Zhizhi, who has nearly 10 years of experience in the game industry, quickly reacted. If you follow the game cycle theory and convert a battlefield in 5 years, it is time to consider opening up a new track.

As a result, Chen Yuzhi and his friends jointly launched the game public chain project Cocos-BCX. Before entering the blockchain, he did the game engine, and now he is turning to the blockchain, and he still has to do "old business".

“For independent developers, because different public networks have different development environments, it is a big expense to develop games in different public chains.” Chen Yuzhi said that Cocos-BCX is a game developed specifically for games. The public chain that is prepared, "provides developers with development tools and supports a cross-platform technical environment that allows developers to easily deploy games to other public chains."

A simple analogy, Cocos-BCX is like a packaged box. Its function is to provide developers with various call interfaces, which makes some complicated development processes simple and reduces the difficulty for developers to migrate projects to other public chains.

On March 24th this year, Cocos released and demonstrated Cocos, an engine that supports blockchain game development, at its blockchain gaming technology conference. Announced to offer similar services, there are two other game engine providers, Egret and LayaBox. Among them, in May last year, Egret released the HTML5 blockchain engine to meet the needs of developers.

"Traditional game development requires an engine. This type of tool is also needed when developing blockchain games." Nicky said that they are currently using Cocos open source development tools, "different public chain interaction, cross-chain in theory. It is feasible, but it can't be realized in a short time."

"In addition, we tried to put the battle logic of BLOCKLORDS into the smart contract, but in the end it was found to be not feasible. On the one hand, the data volume is large, on the other hand, it will cause a relatively high cost of Gas. This part of the cost is a problem."

The development of smart contracts, the choice of data, functions, and logic is the unique feature of blockchain games. Nicky tells 31QU that since the game itself is a product that needs to be updated multiple times, if you want to update the battle formula, you want to update it. It is necessary to change the relevant code and move it all over the body. "It is not so easy to change the underlying smart contract. From a team perspective, it is not very good to support this part of the cost."

Conclusion

DApp is no longer a crazy, steady business.

Regardless of the independent game developers, or the big players who enter the game from traditional games, in addition to gambling and quiz games, other types of games are not realistic at this time.

At least in front of DApp developers, there are several problems that need to be solved, such as funds, users, and technologies. Among these problems, some projects can be solved, and some can only rely on the iteration of the entire industry.

However, the proposition of blockchain games still has broad prospects. Because according to DappReview data, the total number of DApp transactions in the first quarter of this year reached US$3.6 billion. Compared with last year's US$5 billion, it is not difficult to predict that this data will easily surpass last year. Year's data.

As long as the loyal users are still in the market, the more games are developed based on the public chain, the blockchain games will one day get closer and closer to the general public, and even within reach.