The problem with blockchain based games - and how things could change for the better

in drugwars •  6 months ago  (edited)

Isn't it great? Games based on the blockchain! Every game transaction is written in the BC, there is full transparency and accountability, no cheating possible, neither from gamers nor from game developers and it is so easy to automate game routines and use bots for stupid basic tasks...


so who wins such games? Who succeeds and excels? The best gamer? And what's the economic basic of a game and its players?

So first of all - as with everything on the internet and blockchain - looking at the economic perspective it is pretty simple:
Game developers want to make money.
They make money by selling in game items, subscription fee and advertisement.
All three revenue streams usually depend on actual human beings playing the game and enjoying the time while doing so. And here the problems with blockchain games begin:
Who does really excel at blockchain games? The best players or the best bot developers?
And while I pay the utmost respect to bot developers that program those little bots look at the paragraph above... the games are not called bot wars or robo games.. game developers want to have real human beings on the platform.. bots usually do not spend money for in-game items and the advertisement partner will also not pay for bots looking at their banners...
It seems as game developers at least became aware of this problem... as far as I understand steemmonsters to a larger extent but also drugwars made major efforts to change game design and interaction with the blockchain to stop the bots. Other games are not yet at this point of action or even realization.

You say: OK, lets ban the bots that operate 24/7 full play mode, but lets allow the bots that do the stupid house keeping.
Problem is: Who defines where normal game play begins and where stupid routine work begins?
Also players view might differ I would say that whenever there is a majority of players that see some aspects of a game as stupid routine this signals actually more a poor game design and should be changed.

Take nextcolony for example - a game that I really love - but what's the point of logging in exactly every 3,5 hours to built your ships while other players just run their bot doing it with mathematical 100% precision - there is no way a human being can match this.

If you are still not convinced take the reality check:
In games like go and chess the computer now is vastly superior to any human being... and while it could be nice to challenge mr robots ingenuity its actually worse than just that.
Imagine you are playing a game of chess where you get every second round a newly minted pawn while the computer player gets every round a queen or rook... there is no possible way in the world that you can win this...

and this is exactly whats going on with blockchain based games... if every single information is written in the blockchain every action will be as visible as on a chess board. The element of scouting, fog of war, surprise or generally speaking any genius tactic or strategy is completely useless as it is visible at the very moment it happens - again of course not for the human player but for the bot or highly automated player...
.. and so the player or alliance with the biggest production base and most automated gameplay will easily dominate the game... with no chance for the little player to at least annoy the big players a little bit...

And that's actually not how this world is working.
This is a world of unknowns and surprises, a world of fog of wars, miss-assumptions, miss-calculations and mistakes...
And that's exactly what gives David a chance vs. Goliath.

So how could these problems be solved?
IMHO its quite simple:
Use the blockchain for what the blockchain is good at:
Major properties and ownership of major assets should be written in the blockchain, random number generators that calculate the outcome of battles should be derived out of the blockchain (knowing that there are people out there claiming this is still not save) but leave everything else out of the blockchain (or write it into the blockchain with one day delay).. as the likes of troupe movements, attacks, etc...

.. and for a start just forbid and fight the use of bots at all from the very beginning...

This would much more resemble the real world and give smaller players the possibility to compete with bigger players if they use some really good tactics.. which again should lead to more fun in the game and subsequently support a growing userbase.. etc..

And maybe there is someone programming a bot wars game with predefined APIs where we can watch who programmed the best bot...

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The problem I fibd with blockchain games are they are so basic. Like games that could've been made in the 90's with the only difference is your reward is a crytocurrency and there's a public record of your actions.

There's no game that is currently pushing the limits of what the main platforms of gaming are doing.

Bots make everything worse. People want conncetions with people, ya know. Nice article!

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Abklemmen wäre gleichbedeutend mit dem Scheitern echter Dezentralität. Ein bisschen Dezentralität ist unbefriedigend.

Die Antwort auf Bots liegt u.a. in der Besteuerung, hier haben wir mit Stardust ein Instrument, das wir nun ausrollen. Probleme zu erkennen und Ideen zu entwickeln ist die kleinere Herausforderung, die Dinge zeitnah und effizient mit den zur Verfügung stehenden Kapazitäten auf die Strecke zu bringen ist dagegen eine sehr große Herausforderung. Wir sind nicht die schnellsten, aber unser Track Record zeigt, das wir stetig die Schrauben drehen, die nötig sind. Wenn auch zeitversetzt.

Um fair zu bleiben: SM ist gespickt mit Bots und hat das gleiche Problem, ich könnte das auch konkret aufzeigen, aber ich werde nicht mit Dreck werfen. DrugWars hat den wesentlichen Teil von der Blockchain abgeklemmt und das halte ich für die falsche Entscheidung.

THX for your reply.. I did not assess that one game is less affected than another game... but I actually know that SM and DW made great efforts to stop the bots... they made many public statements about this also condemning the use of bots ... I did not and I can not assess to what degree they are successful.. having said this there is a difference to NC as I have never seen a public statement of the NC crew condemning the use of bots.. and I mentioned the building of ships in NC because this is IMHO (together with sending ships away prior to attacks) the biggest disadvantage of human players vs. bots that could be easily solved by installing a tab where you can order the production of several of the same units at once not dependent on your resource status.. so it would be a pretty easy fix I assume..
.. and in regards to real decentralization.. IMHO its a nice tech thing to have it all on the BC however I can not see the advantage for the game or players... BC is a secure distributed database that IMHO should be used to register the important things like the major assets etc... why store really every thing in the BC? I am not a super programmer as you are... just a stupid user... so from this perspective I can not value the beauty of everything being written in the BC.. I just value whats on my screen.. ;-) just my 5 cents

Ob alle Elemente oder nur einzelne Teile eines Spiels auf die Blockchain sollen/müssen, möchte ich gerne zur offenen Debatte stellen. Da gibt es für beide Wege gute Argumente. Ich bin heute auch in einigen Punkten schlauer, als noch vor acht Monaten, da muss ich mich nicht verbiegen, um das einzugestehen. Darüber denke ich übrigens viel nach.
Die Herausforderung war und ist es nach wie vor, alles auf die Blockchain zu bringen, und bislang machen wir das zumindest nicht gänzlich verkehrt. Ich unterlasse es, nun dazu einen Roman zu verfassen, und will dich auch nicht mit technischen Details langweilen. Ein normales Browsergame od. ein bisschen Dezentralität würde uns langweilen. Das Neuland zu betreten und herauszufinden was geht und was nicht ist gerade die Herausforderung und ein wesentlicher Teil unserer Intention. Da kommen natürlich stetig neue Fragen auf. Es ist wie ein andauerndes Chaos, das Du auch nie ganz bewältigen kannst, dennoch aber mit zahlreichen Stellschrauben in eine grobe Richtung bewegen kannst. Dezentralität ist ein reines Chaos. Chaos ist wundervoll.

Ich würde sehr gerne viel mehr über unsere Arbeit schreiben, aber dazu fehlt mir einfach die Zeit. Über einige Dinge will ich z.B. auch nicht zeitnah sprechen, denn während unser Server angegriffen wird, will ich das Problem lösen und nicht darüber sprechen od. jammern. Nun ist das Problem gelöst und liegt eine Weile zurück und ich kann es an dieser Stelle (weil es gerade passt ansprechen). Das ist mit Bot Farms ähnlich, es wird ja hier mitgelesen, also werde ich einen Teufel tun und mir einen Nachteil beim Katz und Maus Spiel verschaffen.

Es ist mir gerade leichter gefallen das auf deutsch zu beantworten. Sorry dafür.

and I certainly value all the upgrades and new modules the crew is bringing to NC! ;-)

I know that. (:

This is interesting. It's pretty strange that we live in a world where bots play the games for us. I guess that is the issue with monetization. People arent playing the games because they think they are fun, they are playing to get the monetary reward. I really would t be all that surprised if the people who design the games are also designing some of the bots to play them. That way they can make money on both ends.

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Nextcolony has too many repeating actions. In any case, you will lose to the bots time after time, because they are able to work 24 hours a day, the bots don't need to eat and sleep. Without complicating the gameplay, nothing can be changed.

DrugWars also suffers from a similar problem.

Hi @solarwarrior

Definitely I prefer human interaction to play, for time factor, connection and prologandos electrical cuts I can not devote myself to the game.
But I have friends who are 12 hours or more playing and they tell me that they are doing very well because of that way you have a dedication and that is the most important thing you can devote the necessary time to play within these platforms.

The image you use reminded me of the Matrix movie.

Greetings from Venezuela

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@solarwarrior, Yes, User Experience can make an game leader of all or will not stand anywhere because, Users 👥 drive any Ecosystem. I don't play Drugwars but, i absolutely agree with you about Steemmonsters game. They are constantly making this gaming platform unique and standing in different light. Stay blessed.

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hi @solarwarrior

I just checked your profile to see if you posted anything new lately and ... NADA. Why so quiet? :)