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What are NFT Games and How to Make NFT Games?

Whether from a friend, YouTuber, or mainstream media, you’ve most likely heard of NFTs. The rapid popularity growth of NFTs has taken both the common man as well as some crypto experts by storm. The increase of NFTs has also gained attention from game developers as they search for ways to utilize NFTs in games. Some people might say that NFT games are not here to stay; however, we know that NFT gaming is just getting started. Therefore, great opportunities await those developers prepared to dive deeper into the topic of NFT games and GameFi space. So, keep reading and find out the answers to the following questions: “what are NFT games?” and “how to make NFT games?”.

If you’re looking to learn how to make NFT games or get a proper answer to the “what are NFT games?” question, you came to the right place. Not only will we provide you with the answers you need to get going, but you will also learn about the ultimate Web3 development platform called Moralis. This free-to-use tool offers experienced and beginner developers the shortcut they deserve.

Moreover, thanks to Moralis’ extensive documentation, using the platform and its full potential is straightforward. Furthermore, since a part of this article focuses on how to make NFT games with Moralis, we recommend creating your free account right away. As such, you’ll be ready to follow along once we get to the section on how to create an NFT game. In fact, Moralis is the best place to get started with NFT programming for beginners. Be sure to check out our other tips and tricks for how to work with NFTs using Moralis, beyond just making NFT games, through the Moralis Blog!  

What are NFTs?

Before we can answer the question of “what are NFT games?”, we need to make sure you know what NFTs are. An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a special kind of cryptographic token. Like other crypto tokens, it exists on the blockchain, where it represents a particular (unique) item.

As the “non-fungible” part suggests, the NFTs are unique and cannot be swapped like other fungible tokens or coins (such as native tokens on a particular blockchain). For instance, you can always trade one BTC (Bitcoin) for an equal amount (in our case, one) of BTC, as they are equal in every way. The same goes for all other fungible tokens. However, no two or more non-fungible tokens are the same. This is true even in cases where NFT series with multiple versions of a particular NFT are created. In the case of the latter, each NFT still has different metadata. A great analogy for that would be the numbered series of prints.

Given the above definition of NFTs, you can understand that this makes NFTs great for serving as a representation of all sorts of unique items, both in the digital and real world. Common examples include digital art, digital collectibles, in-game items or characters, real-estate ownerships, various certifications, etc.

While the hype around certain NFT projects is already reaching unimaginable heights, real-world use cases are just starting to appear. Furthermore, NFT games are also in their infancy. In addition, while you can easily create your own NFT, it’s a bit trickier to create your own NFT game. However, the process is not as difficult and complicated as you might think (more on that later on). As such, NFT games offer great opportunities for all blockchain developers interested in that particular niche.

What are NFT Games?

We’ve mentioned NFT games a couple of times, but let us now dig deeper into the topic of what NFT games actually are. Essentially, NFT games are games that, in some manner, incorporate NFTs. Thus, they provide ways for NFTs to be put to use or just to be earned as rewards. However, in most cases, NFT game creators go with the combination of the two. As such, NFT games utilizes NFTs in their mechanism, rules, and player interactions.

For instance, any character, game skin, sword, treasure box, poison, or any other in-game item can be represented by an NFT. Moreover, any reward given to players for achieving a certain level or completing specific tasks or challenges can also come in the form of NFTs.

What are Play-to-Earn NFT Games?

Currently, the majority of crypto use cases revolve around the finance sector, either directly or indirectly. As such, the concept of earning rewards by playing games is gaining popularity, mainly thanks to the popularity of Axie Infinity. The latter is a great example of a play-to-earn NFT game, where players can earn their “Smooth Love Potion” (SLP) token when completing in-game challenges and tasks. Since the token is tradable on multiple exchanges, players have the chance to actually turn it into fiat. 

With the play-to-earn Web3 games, a new term came to life, GameFi. It refers to game finance and thus to the entire sphere of blockchain gaming that also includes various options previously limited to the financial sector. Moreover, this means that many NFT games come with their own marketplaces, where players can stake, lend, borrow, and trade native chain tokens and in-game assets that come in the form of fungible tokens or NFTs. 

What are In-Game NFTs?

Aside from earning fungible tokens (as in Axie Infinity’s example), players can earn or otherwise obtain NFTs while playing. These NFTs can represent collectible items, tools, or any of the above-mentioned examples of NFTs being introduced within a game. Those are all called “in-game NFTs”.

Furthermore, a particular functionality can be assigned to a specific in-game NFT. Moreover, every NFT can have a pre-defined assigned value, depending on its importance, rarity, cosmetics, etc. On the other hand, it can be left up to the players or the market to set the value of an NFT by allowing players to trade those NFTs in a marketplace.  

What are NFT Games? – Game Examples

Before we get into the section of this article where we teach you how to make NFT games, we want to show you a couple of NFT games that you can explore on your own. You can read their whitepapers and check out their websites. However, if you have the time and the will, we encourage you to try playing these games just to get a sense of the whole concept. That way, you will get even better at answering the “what are NFT games?” question. 

Some mention-worthy NFT games include Axie Infinity, Sorare, Gods Unchained, Splinterlands, The Sandbox 3D, Alien Worlds, Battle Racers, just to name a few. Of course, there are many new NFT games emerging daily, which gives you plenty of options to explore this new industry. However, before connecting your wallet to any of the platforms, make sure to check their reputability and apply all standard safety measures to avoid being scammed. 

How to Make NFT Games

While playing NFT games may be fun and certain games might even give you an option to earn a decent amount of money, we assure you that the biggest opportunities in the crypto sphere lie in focusing on creating or developing something. As such, we published this article to tell you how to make NFT games so that you can use your creativity in developing a phenomenal NFT game. 

Moreover, as mentioned previously, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Of course, that means you want to use the right tools so you can avoid a time-consuming development process. This is where Moralis’ SDK is, without question, one of the most powerful tools you can use for your dApp development. Furthermore, it’s a game-changer for NFT-related projects, and it makes NFT game development easy. Essentially, Moralis equips you with all the right tools related to NFT development and helps you take care of the backend by copying and pasting short lines of code. As such, you can devote your attention and resources to creating the best possible frontend and ensure a great user experience. If you want to learn more about what Moralis is, make sure to watch the following video:

How to Make NFT Games with Moralis – Initial Setups

Before we start writing code (in many cases, copying and pasting it), we must create a Moralis server, import the Moralis SDK, and initialize Moralis. Moreover, whether you want to create your own ERC-20 token, build a crypto wallet, or take on any other Web3 development task, you must complete these same steps when using Moralis. Fortunately, they are easy and simple tasks to execute.

  1. Create a Moralis Server – First, you need to log in to Moralis and click the “Servers” tab on the top-left side. Unlike in the image below, there will be no servers displayed since you are most likely working with a new account. Proceed by clicking the “+ Create a new Server” button in the top-right corner and select one of the three options from the drop-down menu that appears (you may go with the “Testnet Server” for this example).

Next, name your server, select your region, select the chain (network) of your interest, and click the “Add Instance” button (see the image below) in the pop-up window that appears. Be patient, as it may take a couple of minutes for Moralis to create a new server.

  1. Import the Moralis SDK – This will enable you to access the development kit, including libraries and other useful tools. It’s easy to import the Moralis SDK; basically, you only need to copy and paste a couple of lines of code:
  1. Initialize Moralis – You initialize Moralis by using the code below in our JavaScript (“.js”) file. Keep in mind that you need to use the server URL and application ID for your server. You get those by clicking the “View Details” button next to your server name inside the Moralis admin page.

User Authentication

The ability to authenticate users is something that basically every NFT game requires. As such, every time the players of your NFT game visit the related website, there should be a way to enable them to log in. Fortunately, there is a publicly available free tool that we may use for that purpose – MetaMask. You can implement authentication with MetaMask easily and quickly using this single line of code:

In addition to this simple implementation, the Moralis integration automatically adds every new user to your Moralis database. That way, you have access to all the users’ data available on the blockchain. To access your server’s database, click the three dots next to your server’s name and then press the “Dashboard” option. Here is a close-up of the navigation bar within our server’s dashboard:

Looking at the image above, you can see that there are some items in the navigation tab, under the “Browser” tab, related to NFTs. These will enable us to see all of the users’ NFTs. You probably agree that it’s quite incredible what a single line of code enables us to do. 

How to Make NFT Games – A Follow-Along Example Project

In case you want to build an actual simple NFT game, we strongly recommend you to check out our example project, where we show you how to build an NFT game in minutes. If you prefer videos over articles, then we’ve also got you covered with the “How to Build NFT Game Quickly” video.

Both of the above cases let you look over our shoulder and set in place all the coding to create an actual NFT game. Is this the best way to learn how to make NFT games or what?

You’ll get to program both the frontend and backend aspects in order to end up with a simple working NFT game. Furthermore, you’ll start by setting up the graphics, for which you will use an open-source HTML5 library called “Phaser”. With Phaser, you’ll create simple graphics show in the image below:

How to Make NFT Games – Phase 2

Next, you will take care of the game’s lifecycle, using the “preload” function and a “ping()” function. That way, you will ensure that the background is loaded and the server pinged. 

Moving forward, you will be adding controls and subscriptions. Here, the power of Moralis will again offer a great shortcut via the “GameState” tab available in your Moralis server’s dashboard. You will be wrapping up the frontend programming by applying the “update” and “drawState” functions.

Moving on, you will focus on the backend portion of the NFT game creation. There you will learn how to add additional features, such as boundaries to the game and collection of particular items. Moreover, you will cover how to use the “persistState” function and a ping function for the backend. The latter will call the “getSVGString” function that will enable you to fetch the user’s SVG(s) from the blockchain. 

With that, you’ll wrap up the example project and thus finally learn how to make NFT games. Then, it will be up to you to put that knowledge into further use for other, more extensive, and more advanced projects.

What are NFT Games and How to Make NFT Games? – Summary

At this point, you should have no problem answering the “what are NFT games?” question. You know that these are Web3 gaming applications that in some way incorporate NFTs – either by rewarding players with them or having some kind of in-game NFTs set in place, or even both.

Moreover, you now know that you do not need to take the difficult and time-consuming road of creating NFT games from scratch. Instead, you can speed up the process by letting Moralis take care of the complicated backend part. Furthermore, let us repeat that we encourage you to take on the follow-along example project mentioned above. That way, you’ll learn how to make NFT games quickly.

Finally, let us again point out that aside from offering many shortcuts regarding NFT programming, including a way to send NFTs with one line of code, Moralis offers an incredible backend solution for the entire Web3 development spectrum on multiple leading chains. For example, it also offers you to create tokens on Arbitrum, Polygon, and on Binance Smart Chain (BSC). Thus, creating a Moralis account and having access to all its functionality is something you don’t want to miss out on.

September 19, 2021
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