Blockchain Gamer & Ark Tribe
Ark Tribe is the result of a think tank that went by the name of Blockchain Gamers, from the cryptocurrency community, that aimed to find innovative uses of blockchain in video games, and a real use, that could meet the needs or demands of the video game ecosystem.
You will find the documents and studies on which we based ourselves on the website of “Agence Française du Jeu Vidéo.” Some recent studies reinforce the points that this group had already put forward at the time, I may refer to them. This is not an anachronism, but a note to show that what was said is still relevant today.
Started by myself, based on my experience as a player in high level guilds on most MMORPGs at their hour of glory, and many “solo” games, then quickly joined by other players, the group had enriched its discussion on the needs and desires of the players of today and tomorrow by reading numerous studies on video games and technology available or that would be available in the future.
It seemed relevant to listen to people of all ages in order to have a wider panorama, and to meet the needs of those who will be the buyers of the next generation of games tomorrow.
From a perspective of the future, and in a reflection on solutions for the long term, we had by multiple mediums (discord, slack, private messages on telegram, on skype … but also mails and private forums) exchanged on subjects like “the qualities that a game should have to meet the expectations of duration, quality, and universality” of current players.
There appeared some major needs that guided us to the solutions that I would present later in detail. These needs can be summed up by a motley search for difficulty, a nostalgia for the social game, and a need to recognize the cultural character of the game.
The thoughts of Blockchain Gamer
It has to be said that not all players aspire to a similar difficulty. The video game is no longer the prerogative of adolescents in search of personal challenge, it has become widely popularized. You will find in appendix references to the studies of the AFJV (French Agency of Video Games) which show that today a very different population plays video games.
From Blockchain Gamer discussions have emerged for some a need for challenge such as those of video games before. By looking at what they thought was “better before” we were able to find several elements that determined their discontent.
Before the arrival of the MMORPGs, and their massive adoption, there was little or no quest indicators in minimaps, for example. We had to explore every corner of every place we went to, talk to each NPC (non-player character) to find quests, and explore the game map for monsters, or rewards.
As of today, each quest is announced on the mini-map (miniature map of the player’s immediate environment, usually at the top right of the screen) which is standard for MMORPG systems. And the storyline transports you from one place to another with laser-guided precision. It is not hard to find what you are looking for too.
If there is a demand from players who want to be able to play “without breaking their heads” and who like to be carried away by the storyline, others regret not being able to “choose to have to explore” rather than be led through the game by a quest suite.
Open world games, where you can go anywhere, could have provided a solution for these players, if it was that 'anywhere else than where the next quest leads, there Nothing exciting "and so the interest, for them, of the open world is limited to being able to look at beautiful landscapes, nothing interesting.
If this is not a universal point of view, and not all games are RPGs (role playing) it is interesting to see that even on other types of games, this point comes back. So, on platform games (where you have to jump, move from one platform to another) you have exactly the same opposites “It’s too easy” and “it’s impossible” depending on agility and the customer’s machine.
Another observation is that today, we play on PCs, consoles, laptops, and smartphones (more and more) but we isolate ourselves when we play. “The online modules or multiplayer is the blank” insisted adults, against a “no, they are cool” in adolescents.
From this opposition, a most interesting discussion was born. Initially opposed on the subject, after much discussion, was born a consensus that it would be much more fun if the multiplayer, without making an obligation, could be played by several people whose presence and physical interaction would affect the game.
But everyone, regardless of age and occupation, has shown a growing appetite for immersive games where you feel you live the story. And if they are currently reluctant to spend on virtual reality equipment, they admit that they would be happy to spend on this type of equipment if a serious game offer that meets all their other expectations.
The most technical people of the group had reflections on another challenge of today’s games, and more, of tomorrow. As said above, we play on several mediums, but even worse, each of these mediums to several operating system, the consoles all have their own different, on the PC there are MAC OS, Linux, and Windows. On laptops, there is Android, Windows and others. different screen resolution (size), and do not calibrate the performance and capabilities of each device.
So what? What to do?
No need to explain that to make a different version for everyone is time-consuming, and not rentable, undesired in case where you have the choice to do otherwise. The proof is, if you need it, that the best selling point of Unity 3D, Game Maker Studio, and RPG Maker is that you can “publish for all consoles and OS” with one and the same code without changing it.
In the world of application development (including video games) cross-platform solutions also abound, including Visual Studio (software used to make programming from Microsoft) that even offers the power with the C #, among others, to make programs for Android or Linux.
The beginning of solutions appeared.
As mentioned above, Unity 3D and Game Maker Studio offer complete solutions to make only one code, and publish for all platforms. Steam, a distribution platform, allows you to make available your game (software, video, book …) for all platforms. Side users, it is transparent, the publisher side of the game / software, it is done through different repositories (storage space) for each OS.
Nvidia, the manufacturer of motherboard and graphics card, also offers a solution to this problem, which goes through the cloud: GEFORCE Now. Based on its famous range of graphics card, it allows to play games in a fluid way, for which your PC does not have the necessary resources physically. You will find the technical details on the site that NVIDIA has created, GEFORCE NOW.
Many other studies and proposals were, unfortunately, lost when the group dissolved. However, the studies and agencies mentioned that I was able to find online, and these discussions in which I participated, was born Ark Tribe.
Ark Tribe’s birth
In order to exploit the results of Blockchain Gamer, and for the stated purpose of creating a new think tank, but more in-depth and more professional, I created Ark Tribe. This group was not intended to grow as fast as Blockchain Gamer, and it is not currently huge either.
The Blockchain Gamer experimentation was certainly a success in terms of results of reflection, but a failure on the “concrete” that had resulted from it. So having amassed hands-on playing experience, theoretical knowledge about game design by BG (Blockchain Gamer), as well as a better understanding of player needs through the different discussions that BG, it seemed to me essential to create games from this wealth of information.
Of all types of video games, the one that by my contacts and knowledge we were most accessible, was the Visual RPG format, which combine the narrative power of a Visual Novel, with the adventure feel of a RPG. There are many definitions for Visual Novels, but we have retained the aspect of “interactive book of which we are the hero”. For this type of games, you need backgrounds, characters (portraits and busts), and a solid story, which holds its ground compared to a conventional book.
I contacted illustrators, musicians, and writers, as well as correctors, obviously, programmers too. A team formed, which took a long time to have a strong heart. While it is regrettable that it is difficult to have a programmer, the programming aspect is, fortunately, a point that I can fill. This is how the project “Fairytale of a Kingdom” was born.
But in all that … where is the blockchain?
Here it comes! The basis of “Fairytale of a Kingdom” will be a Visual Novel. It will provide a solid storyline for their game, multiple purposes, neat decors … but it will include a classic RPG part with fights, shops to buy weapons, or other elements of the game.
This is where the blockchain comes in. It will store all the interactions of the players with the game. Purchases, sales, obtaining experience, objects, skill points … all this will be stored on the blockchain. And since everything will be stored on the blockchain, the game itself will only contain the code needed to interact with the blockchain.
And since it is so, the shops are dynamic. It contains everything that was sold, but also all that other players have sold. The cities of the game are constantly changing state too, if we had 10 quest to kill the wolves, and there are more, then we have too many rabbits, and we must kill some of them , and reintroduce the wolves. Let’s go to the other areas to search!
This gives the appearance of a massively multiplayer game, with the advantages of playing solo. This aspect, I called it: “Mass Ecosystem Economics” (hereinafter MEEM) and it fits as much to solo games as to MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) type games. It meets the expectation of diversity of people.
Regarding the difficulty, Fairytale of a Kingdom will not provide an innovative solution, because the solution envisaged by Ark Tribe is both ambitious, and can only be done with the help of a team of experts that we do not have in our current network: artificial intelligence. No, not the artificial intelligence of the monsters of today’s games … we are talking about an artificial intelligence shared by all Ark Tribe games, to which will connect the games.
This one will determine the level of the player, his strengths and his weaknesses, and will adjust the script of the monsters to the individual, or to the collective, who confronts it. Or rearrange the platforms so that they are difficult but not impossible to cross for the player. This is how Ark Tribe intends to propose a common game, but adapting to each player individually.
And so … the future SCOP (Cooperative)?
If it is not necessary to have a business for Fairytale of a Kingdom demonstrates the MEEM and its capabilities, what Ark Tribe can do as a community project, the field of artificial intelligence, and ambitions members in the heart of Ark Tribe can not be part of the community. We want to create a video game studio based on artificial intelligence research, virtual reality, and future technologies.
These are the concepts that I present to you below.
Ark Tribe Studio: all the cultural
Mass Economic Ecosystem Mechanism (MEEM)
The MEEM is an operating model of the game where the action of each player changes the state of the game permanently and sustainably. When a game is based on this model, a player may visit the same place indefinitely without ever, with a few unlikely exceptions, find themselves in the same situation twice.
Take the example of weapons in a game where it is possible to have them by killing monsters, making them, or buying them in the shop. At the opening of the game, the shops will have only the weapons of their basic inventory. The adventurers, at this point will all have the same thing and the experience will be similar.
But then they will go for quests, they will collect materials, some will sell in the raw material shops, and others will keep to make weapons. They will have weapons and armor, some will equip, and others will resell. And they will make weapons and armor to sell them or to equip themselves.
From then on, the game is not the same for everyone. Depending on what everyone has done, the shops will find the swords that were on the monsters, or were created, new raw materials, rare or not, and weapons of all shapes, magical or not.
One would think that one is in a multiplayer game, but no. With the blockchain for base, which records all these player transactions, the game will only keep blockchain transactions from the region of the game you are in and fill the store’s inventory accordingly.
The same goes for quests, resources, we can build games that react to the actions of other players, and we get a much more dynamic game. Then we get not only a diversification, but also a natural dispersion of the game (we evoked the weapons, armor, and resources, but all the objects of the game will thus spread throughout the game) that make the immersion much more intense.
A MMO (Online Multiplayer Massive) game will benefit all the more from this system as players will not interact passively with each other, but actively, trading directly with each other, grouping and creating guilds. For these games, interoperable channels will take care of the various aspects of the game.
We thus create a decentralized game, which at a time when the DDOS attacks and other cybercrime actions are massively targeting the world of video games, and more particularly that of online games, makes the game more autonomous, and allows Ark Tribe to reduce the attack surface and the impact of these attacks on his players.
MEEM is equally usable for Digital Goods, and its use can range from dispersion of unique writings amongst the Vision Future Media to spread the goods that people want to sell that belongs to them. As such, we can spread “unique edition of ebook” that thanks to the MEEM can be really unique, and can be sold as collectible.
Of course, that also mean that we can use this to create online collectible, or creative items that don’t have equivalent anywhere else in the world, but also verify that something is genuine or owned by a specific person. As such the MEEM is a patented complex system, that will give Ark Tribe a concurential advantage that it can use to take a lead in the market.
Shared Artificial Intelligence
As mentioned above, integrating the blockchain as a base for a game allows, among other things, players to share their gaming experience and interact even when they are in single player mode. The MEEM therefore gives a greater depth to the game, and allows a greater immersion.
But it only partially meets the demand of the players. By this process we make the universe more attractive, but it still remains to solve the problem of interaction with the universe. At this point our players are more interested in the game, but if it is too hard or too easy to play (Ni no Kuni II is a very popular game, but his strongest critics are about being too easy), so our players are not satisfied.
Blockchain Gamer has spent many hours over its two years of existence looking into current games which ones have the best solution. But it is the opening of the world of artificial intelligence and its processes that has most caught our attention.
What do we expect from AI that we will not get adaptive scripts today?
To get to know the player, to recognize his strengths and his weaknesses, then to direct the enemies so that they always pose a satisfactory difficulty to the player without either pushing him to stop the game because he does not can not progress anymore. And if the player fails to recognize his request to weaken the opponent.
We no longer get “scripted” fights where we learn a precise mechanics, and where we fight with a precise method, but a reactive combat where each part does with its strengths and its weaknesses, and where the enemy adapts to the reaction time and the abilities of the players he has in front of him.
From AI we expect two things in terms of leisure, games that adapt to what we want to do (we can choose to ask the AI to do the fighting for us, or to to be easy, or to optimize the difficulty) and that will give a “living” dimension to the characters we meet in the game.
In MMO games, two AIs can cooperate. One will be responsible for adapting enemies and NPCs (Non-Player Characters) to raids (a raid usually includes several groups of players from the same guild), groups, or individuals in the presence of the NPC; while the other will help the moderation of the game.
In most online games, farmers, individuals who use scripts to pick up resources in bulk, are a disruptive problem for universes and players. This second AI can learn to discern players, and report to a member of the support dedicated to resolving disruptive behavior.
These behaviors are not only those that threaten the virtual economy of the game, but also those that threaten the very life of the player. It will teach AI, as far as possible to detect conversations about suicide, racism, or discrimination, to help prevent these “games off the table” where launches challenges that push children just into adolescence to commit suicide.
Player safety should not be overlooked, and while it is not the publisher’s legal responsibility to monitor children connecting to his or her game, it is his or her moral responsibility and reputation. to ensure that these abuses of the online chat system are severely punished, and not tolerated.
What is “shared” in Shared Artificial Intelligence?
This is to use an AI for all Ark Tribe games. Whether for single player, multiplayer, or massively multiplayer players, so that artificial intelligence is refined and continuously learning all forms of games, improving its response to the ability to react to players’ actions for each new title of the franchise.
Are we meeting all the expectations of the players now?
With MEEM and AI we only answer two of the three requests of the players today. That of deeper immersion, and that of greater flexibility of the game, allowing everyone to navigate. We do not respond with these two elements to the demand for cultural recognition of video games and the demand for socialization of players. In addition, the MEEM alone does not completely ensure the total immersion of the player, it remains a tool today available to us that we have not reviewed.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Emerging but growing technology, the virtual reality of which the helmets are just starting to sell (you will find attached to this document a market study that shows that they are very marginal) but makes rapid progress and allows a total immersion in the world. The game world. Its close cousin, however different in nature, Augmented Reality is already used in gaming applications, such as Pokémon Go.
Blockchain Gamer has identified these two technologies as key points for making video games that meet the social and immersive needs of gamers. Although we have had people working in this field who have come to Blockchain Gamer occasionally, we have not been able to do a thorough discussion of the technical part.
Players expect an MMO game via headphones (Virtual Reality, to isolate for sound too) or glasses / lenses for Augmented Reality, in order to play interact with other players in the game, or this one would be a social platform as much as a game.
The idea of cultural centers where we can meet, exchange cards of the game, and group to go to do quests, was received very positively. The creation of such centers would, without a doubt, be a great advantage for an MMO game that would win a growing adoption.
This demand for community centers has attracted the attention of Ark Tribe Group. After much discussion, we concluded that a virtual and augmented reality center would not require large space, and could be a physical gathering place to play an MMO that would be national, then international, with competitions that allow players to challenge themselves and receive rewards.
If this section is not as provided as the others, it is because we have identified that it will be necessary to ask for a specialized study, done by professionals, which we do not have in the team, and to develop this concept until to be ripe. But we at least laid the foundation for the reflection of the study.
A cooperative concept
Ark Tribe is therefore less in competition than in cooperation. Because of its uniqueness, that of physical recreation centers, Ark Tribe will be able to offer other video game publishers a distribution partnership.
If it is not likely that the bigger ones will join the system, at least not at the beginning, the studios and the independent ones, will be presented to them numerous advantages such as the access to MindGame, to improve their games, or the distribution and promotion of their game in our centers.
In territories where Vision Future Media (be the franchise, or the centers directly managed by Ark Tribe) organize with the Marie, the local associations, and the House of Youth, as well as the center of reception and leisure will be a priority. It is through these actions that the centers will be able to make themselves known.
This type of advertising will be more firmly anchored in the everyday life of the citizens of the settlement area than ads that are very impersonal. Thus, they will learn to know and respect the staff, which in turn will gain in safety, reputation and attendance.
A typical implementation study should therefore include a panorama of the different actors in place, and proposals for collaboration or partnership with local or regional authorities, depending on the scope of the center to be built or opened.
The digital galleries & libraries
Not everyone has the opportunity to go to an exhibition or a specific event, and often you can not attend a concert or an exhibition because it takes place in a city where there is no access, or no means to surrender.
The digital galleries allow to get out of this model, an exhibition will take place at the same time in the place of the physical exhibition, but also everywhere in the Future Media Vision network. The 3D display, and later the holography, will allow you to see a concert even if you are miles away from where it is held, and the exhibitions held in the capital could thus be shown everywhere in France.
It would be possible to work with museums and galleries, and bring their exhibitions to all corners of the country, then, when Ark Tribe will expand internationally, in all countries where there are centers Ark Tribe . The museums will thus be able to receive more visits and receive more funds for their mission.
It would be the same for artists in concert, on national tours, for cities that are not served, and for people who can not get to the concert hall, because the box office is sold, there would be option to go live the concert in a room Vision Future Media.
The Academy of Professional Arts
Finally, to complete the offer of the Ark Tribe Cooperative, the opening of an academy designed to train the techniques of digital media oriented writing professions such as the eBook, but also audio-book and radio -book, video game, and digital broadcasting such as YouTube, will train professionals and create networks that will benefit Ark Tribe as well as those trained.
It will be, during a deposit of application file, to choose the most suitable modules for the student. If it turns out that he is not qualified, or does not have the basic skills required to do a profession of professional art, direct him, if he wishes, to training courses for more job opportunities. vast and related to the training he had asked to stay closer to his interests.
A trade such as Commercial Arts Professionals teaching techniques of internet sales can be used as an independent not only for Professional Arts, but also for many companies with an internet sales portal, allowing access to the Internet. employment in sectors other than art.
And there are the trades we miss on French territory, Agent Littéraire for example. Trained as Artistic Agents, they will have a commercial training, with specialized modules in different Arts, so that they can use their training not only in the context of literature or the arts, but in commerce more generally .
Other types of related training will be provided. These trainings will be designed to be qualified, and to support the network of trained people, but also to give them the opportunity to work on more traditional trades, so as not to force them to a complete reconversion if they do not find any employment in the branch they have chosen.
A cultural economic model revisited
Assets for Ark Tribe Studio
Ark Tribe Studio will have to stand out and play finely to fit into a market where GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) invests more and more but (so far) don’t seem to want to directly create video game studios, or invest in the journalists and writers themselves.
This is why it is obviously not possible, nor desirable, to compete on their field. That’s why these recreation centers, which we will call Vision Future Media, will need something that GAFA does not aspire to.
This something is a flagship MMO game that will be the center of Vision Future Media. For now, the game will be called “Fantasy Quest”, and we are still doing the draft and design. At first, Ark Tribe will distinguish itself by the MEEM, then by its community centers, and finally, by GameMind, shared artificial intelligence.
A transition will be made to Ark Tribe’s final business model when Fantasy Quest matures. This Massively Multiplayer Online Game will benefit both from GameMind, and the MEEM, will be virtual reality, and you can play it both at home, with a headset and a controller (another device may have made its appearance by then) and in Vision Fantasy Quest centers in its augmented reality version, in gaming rooms for group play.
At term; the generic idea is to create competitions at the departmental, regional, and national levels, so as to create a sustainable phenomenon and perpetuate the presence of the game on the territory. The Visions Fantasy Quest centers will be integrated into the social centers, which will have served as a local anchor thanks to their animation.
Investments and research partnerships
If in the early days of Ark Tribe, the investments to be made will be mainly staff-related in the long term, these investments will go in search of partnerships in the fields of AI and virtual reality. These will consolidate and refine the internal research on MindGame, the AI of the game, and the programming of the game engine Fantasy Quest.
Today, if we know what team we will take for the game engine Fantasy Quest, we are thinking about the composition of an internal team for GameMind who would ensure the link with providers and partners, to carry out this project, which is both ambitious and necessary to stand out from the market with an original approach to video games.
In the medium term, investments will be made in the “Vision Future Media” network by shoring up the supply of video games, books, music, illustrations, paintings, and other visual mediums to make them available in Vision centers. Future Media.
Partnerships with press houses and magazines will also be formed, expanding Vision Future Media’s offer to its members. In addition to these professional articles, members of the community will be able to issue articles, deposit books or stories they have written, and a community voting system will be put in place for them to monetize these contents.
This aspect of monetizing community resources will be one of the attractions of community centers. From the perspective of egalitarian social policy, this aspect will be reinforced and encouraged in the most sensitive neighborhoods. With the consent of their parents, teens over sixteen will have the opportunity to offer content, which will be submitted in the same way as the other to the general voting system of Visions Future Media centers.
In order to integrate into the local landscape of the district or the city of implantation, Vision Future Media will be able to lend its premises to associations. It would be a question of letting the social associations use the parts of the premises that are not used, and to reserve them evenings so that they can propose the different activities of the center to their members and to the people who frequent them.
Talking with the town halls to see if the center can contribute to the social actions they have planned will be another way to promote the center, while improving the living environment of the citizens of their city will be a passive investment in the promotion of Vision Future Media centers.
In the short term, investments will be in the creation of games to be put on Steam (distribution platform), which will be used to create the game engine Ark Tribe on which Fantasy Quest can rely, and on a local for the hiring of the team of developers on the Lyon basin.
The creative and developer of the Ark Tribe community are enough to carry out the prototype for the investors and partners of Ark Tribe, but they can not ensure the creation of the game in its final form. The company Ark Tribe will be based in France, in Lyon, and this is where the recruitment will be for the technical team.