Web3 Game Design – Explaining the Web3 Game Design Process

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The structure and design of a Web3 game include many different elements. When considering Web3 game design, one must factor in details of the project, specific stages, and what crypto features to implement. Including monetary aspects is something many users prefer. For example, we’ve seen this in GameFi and play-to-earn (P2E) concepts, where users can earn crypto while participating in a Web3 game. With the ever-expanding crypto realm and the number of active users in crypto gaming skyrocketing, now is a great time to dive into blockchain programming and learn Web3 game design. If this is something you want to get involved in, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain the Web3 game design process in a simplified way.

The Web3 tech stack has come a long way in the last couple of years. As such, Web3 game design is now a lot simpler than you might think. Today, JavaScript and Unity proficient developers with no prior Web3 knowledge are creating killer dapps (decentralized applications). How? They are using the ultimate Web3 backend platformMoralis. This “Firebase for crypto” operating system is cross-chain and cross-platform interoperable. As such, it offers frontend developers countless opportunities. Now, as we move forward, we will first cover the basics of Web3 and Web3 gaming to get you all up to speed. Also, we’ll mention the core benefits of Web3 gaming. Then, we will take a closer look at the Web3 game design process. Along the way, we will cover player types and game loops. In addition, we’ll also look at how Moralis can help you get involved with Web3 gaming.   

What are Web3 and Web3 Gaming?

Web3 is the next version of the internet that exploits blockchain technology. It incorporates financial tools natively, which adds a whole new dimension. Some of the key characteristics of Web3 are decentralization, transparency, and immutability. Thus, there are no single companies or entities that hold data. Instead, the owners of the data control how that data is used. For a deeper dive into the Web3 discussion, use the “Web3” link stated earlier. Also, make sure to read our articles answering the “why is Web3 important?” and “how does Web3 work?” questions.

When we talk about Web3 gaming, we are referring to games built on top of that same technology. Hence, players get to own their own participation and other assets related to that open data ecosystem. Moreover, all transactions are permanent and publicly verifiable. These key aspects also allow for a fundamental change in how the games are played. As such, we can transition from “pay-to-play” to “play-to-earn”. Aside from having fun, players can actually have financial benefits from their game time. In addition, via internal or external marketplaces, players can also trade their in-game assets. The latter typically comes as fungible or non-fungible tokens (NFTs). All these new features in Web3 game design present one of the most significant opportunities of our time.  

Web and Game Generations   

Before we shift our focus to Web3 game design, we want to do a quick overview of generations of internet technologies and gaming. Let’s start with the former:

The image above shows you the three underlying layers of all web stages. These include protocol, platform, and application layers. While the goal is to produce the best applications, those cannot exist without platforms and protocols. However, reliable platforms enable developers to skip dealing with protocols directly. In turn, they get to devote more time to the frontend and, thus, create better apps or, in the case of Web3, dapps. Furthermore, we can take a similar analogy to look at the generations in games:

As you can see in the image above, we still have the protocol layer at the bottom. However, moving upwards, we have the middleware layer and the game layer at the top. Moreover, notice that Moralis and its integration with Unity enable devs to create Web3 metaverse and Web3 games.  

Web3 Game Design

With the above basics under our belts, we are ready to focus on Web3 game design. Moreover, blockchain technology’s unique benefits and opportunities also require a unique game design. Of course, like with traditional game design, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. It all depends on the details of the project. Hence, the projects can vary greatly in staff sizes and staff disciplines. These include artists, animators, audio experts, graphic designers, developers, marketers, producers, QA experts, sales experts, analysts, translators, writers, etc. Ultimately, with the ever-rising expectations from users, video games are pretty complex these days. Of course, this complexity is to be expected in Web3 as well. However, thanks to GameFi, Web3 games can succeed with much simpler game characteristics, especially while we are still early in the game.

The most typical process of Web3 game design follows the model of traditional gaming:

The above image indicates typical hallmark stages. The planning stage is where teams normally decide what the game is and how the users will interact. This stage is particularly important in Web3 game design. This is where teams decide which crypto features to include. Preproduction tackles prototyping and experimentation on what the world will look like. Production is where most of the game is created. Accordingly, this is where devs typically input the final code and final assets. Next, it’s time for testing. Usually, after testing, we have the prelaunch stage. This is where a potential beta release takes place. Finally, the team launches the game. However, this is rarely the end of the Web3 game design process. Today, users expect changes and evolution of a game after launch. Hence, devs tend to go through some or all of the previous steps continuously.

Web3 Game Design and Players

Good software must be user-centric; however, games go one step further. As such, the main focus must be to bring pleasure to players. As such, they are player-centric:

To know how to provide your player with the kind of pleasure they desire, you need to consider a player’s persona. The image below illustrates four common examples of player types in social or multiplayer games:

For instance, the above image indicates that achievers are all about moving through the world while achieving different benchmarks. Moreover, they also like to earn rewards for their achievement. On the other hand, explorers are more interested in exploring the world by interacting with it. As such, explorers are not that interested in achievements.

Furthermore, players can be categorized based on their spending habits (see the image below). This aspect is also quite important when considering games’ economics and profitability. Especially in the case of free-to-play games, microtransactions play a significant role.    

Web3 Player Types

When we focus on Web3 gaming, we obtain some new player types:

As the above image shows, we also have earners and investors aside from players. Each of these three categories can be divided further. Hence, we have “toe dippers”, “gamblers”, and “fun seekers” among players. Then, we have “silent investors”, “market speculators”, and “workers” among earners. Then we have “crypto whales”, “early adopters”, and “entrepreneurs” among investors. Considering these player types is pretty important when it comes to Web3 game design. As such, we can choose to address or not to address specific players’ needs. It all starts by deciding which type of players we want to target. Then we need to look at their defining factors, their key motivations, their key asset activities, and their retention strategies. With these four aspects, we determine what makes our targeted players unique, what they want to do, how they will engage, and how to keep them interested. 

Loops in Game Design

Whenever we want to properly organize the Web3 game design process, we need to consider “player engagement”. It is important to think of this engagement in a series of repeating actions – loops. In the simplest form, we have action, reward, and extension stages of a loop. Let’s look at these in the case of Packman. There, the action is a user’s input of the direction in which they want to move their Packman. The reward comes in the form of coins and power pellets, which they collect while moving around. Furthermore, those pellets also expand players’ abilities and, thus, cover the “expansion” part of the loop.  

In addition, an average traditional or Web3 game also contains several loops. These typically include rendering loops, gameplay loops, core loops, and meta loops. Here are the overviews of each of these loop types:

  • Rendering Loop:
    • It focuses on a game engine.
    • Timeframe: typically in milliseconds.
    • Developers typically focus more on this loop than designers.
    • It offers an opportunity to create smoothness.
    • You want it to be transparent to players.
  • Gameplay Loop:
    • It focuses on the action of the player.
    • Timeframe: typically in seconds.
    • It offers an opportunity to create fun for players.
    • It includes controls, pacing, look/feel, etc.
  • Core Loop:
    • It is the heartbeat of the game.
    • Timeframe: typically in minutes.
    • This is where the rules of the game are introduced.
    • It includes engagement, conversion, depth/variety, etc.
  • Meta Loop:
    • It establishes the long-term vision of the game.
    • Timeframe: typically in anything from days to years.
    • This is where the context is created.
    • It includes progression(s), economy, metrics, etc.

Loops in Web3 Game Design

When focusing on Web3 game design, all of the above loops play an important role. However, it is the meta loop that offers the most opportunities. Moreover, in Web3, we get an additional expansion of a typical loop: 

With financial aspects integrated within Web3 games, the reward stage of the game loop becomes so much more interesting. As such, players get to trade their crypto assets or use them for governance. To dive deeper into the expansion that Web3 loops offer, check out the video below at 09:08. This is also where you can learn about some loop balance tactics (10:16). In addition, you can jump to 11:37 to discover more about Web3 adoption. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5Pt_juydwQ

Web3 Game Design with Moralis

As mentioned in the introduction, Moralis is the ultimate Web3 development platform. Thanks to Moralis’ Metaverse SDK, it is also the best tool when diving into Web3 game design. If you know your way around Unity, you can effortlessly connect with Moralis’ SDK. As such, you are able to solve your blockchain-related backend challenges with copy-paste action. Using short snippets of code from Moralis’ documentation speeds up your progress. As a result, you can devote your resources to creating a stunning Web3 UI.

Moralis offers you a single workflow for building high-performance dapps. This one-stop platform helps you bypass all of the limitations of RPC nodes. In addition, Moralis integrates other phenomenal Web3 tools. These include IPFS, MetaMask, and WalletConnect. In turn, you can connect users with WalletConnect or authenticate with MetaMask. Furthermore, you get to upload folders to IPFS without breaking a sweat. Because of this, you get to cover your dapps’ Web3 authentication and decentralized file storing needs using single lines of code. Nonetheless, Moralis’ other integrations enable you to do Web3 authentication via email and Web3 social login. As such, connecting Web3 wallet to Twitter account becomes demystified. Moreover, that way, you get to boost Web3 user onboarding easily. 

Once you’ve implemented Web3 login, Moralis also helps you manage user sessions and cross-chain identities. You also get access to the Moralis dashboard (database). As such, you can sync and index smart contract events and index the blockchain. This database can also store off-chain data. Essentially, the Moralis Metaverse SDK makes Web3 game design a whole lot simpler. So, create your free Moralis account today and tackle weekly Web3 challenges from Moralis Projects

Web3 Game Design – Explaining the Web3 Game Design Process – Summary

In today’s article, you’ve found out that Web3 game design isn’t much different than traditional game design. However, as it introduces financial aspects and transferable crypto assets, it adds complexity and opportunities. As such, proper planning becomes even more important. Web3 games can also be designed in a way to let players in on governance. This is typically done via governance tokens. Along the way, you’ve also learned the basics of Web3 and Web3 gaming. You’ve looked at the evolution of the web and gaming and learned about Moralis. As such, you are now ready to take your next step in blockchain programming. If you are JavaScript or Unity proficient, we recommend you take on some practical example projects. For instance, you can build a medieval metaverse game, a Web3 MMORPG, or a simple 2D Web3 game

On the other hand, you might be eager to explore other blockchain development topics. If that’s the case, visit the Moralis YouTube channel and the Moralis blog. Some of the latest topics focus on how to connect a Web3 wallet to a website, NFT utility, answers the “what is Solana?” question, explores how to develop a Web3 Netflix clone or a Web3 video streaming service, how to set up a BNB wallet, an ETH wallet, or a multi-chain wallet. Further, these two outlets can serve your free ongoing crypto education needs. Nonetheless, you may be eager to become a Web3 developer fast. In that case, we recommend you take a more professional approach. Hence, consider enrolling in Moralis Academy. There, you’ll access top-notch blockchain development courses, an advancing community, and expert mentorship.

April 13, 2022
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