Blockchain is no stranger to gaming – CryptoKitties, CryptoPuppies, and a number of other games that are centered around collecting items to sell and trade to other players are already available to enjoy on both web browsers and mobile devices. Although this setup can be appealing, especially with an assemblage of cute furry friends to interact with, there is no narrative or overall immersion into the world of these games.
Game development studio 0xGames seeks to disrupt this model of blockchain gaming. On June 29, the studio announced the release of its first project: 0xUniverse. The space exploration game runs on Ethereum and allows players to colonize planets, build spacecraft, and communicate with aliens, within a 3D-rendered universe.
0xUniverse is like CryptoKitties in that players collect planets to expand their territorial presence across the galaxy. These planets appreciate over time because of the limited and fixed number of planetary "assets," allowing players to earn money by selling them to others.
ETHNews spoke with the "Blockchain Boss" of 0xGames, Mike Zelenin, to learn more about what sets the studio's flagship project apart from the rest of the blockchain collectibles trend.
While players must first purchase a planet upon signing up for the game, there is a galaxy of in-game features to keep them satisfied. Zelenin explained:
"0xUniverse revolves mainly around three pillars, which are resources, planets, and spaceships. After acquiring their first planet, players get a manpower source: planets accumulate population that, in turn, produces resources (29 types in total) and gains knowledge. Knowledge allows planet owners to invent and build spacecraft and explore new sectors to find new planets. It may happen that players will get a planet with a resource pool they don't need, which will make them start looking for the ones that are necessary. That will lead players right to the auction to sell their planets and buy the ones that have all the required resources."
Included in this interplay of resources, knowledge, and spacecraft are four planetary value types: common, rare, epic, and legendary. The legendary planets offer an interactive narrative component to the game to further immerse players in the 0xUniverse.
"Players owning them can jointly go through an exciting storyline by sharing legendary planets' descriptions (as they are the only ones containing descriptions about alien civilizations that had inhabited the universe)," said Zelenin. "In doing so, players get to discover the mysteries of the universe by putting all the pieces together … it's not just nominal texts – the storyline is an entire 'book' written by a professional author."
This storyline provides an almost meta feeling to 0xUniverse; as players collect legendary planets, they uncover artifacts and secrets that tell the story of the game's overarching galaxy. In fact, there are three ancient civilizations for players to dig their teeth into.
The studio intends to release more in-game features in the future, such as war campaigns, which would allow players to control certain galaxy sectors and capitalize on the planetary resources within them. Zelenin also mentioned that company leaders, experience systems, conflicts, and other updates will periodically be implemented. Further, he said that after players fully discover the galaxy contained within 0xUniverse (presumably when all planets have been colonized), the studio plans to add more galaxies for gamers to explore.
0xGames plans to release the mobile version of the game this month, which according to Zelenin, "will replicate the features and functions of [the] main browser version." Although the mobile version may not offer anything different than the browser game, 0xGames ultimately wants to have a mobile presence to reach "a wider gaming public."
Of course, blockchain-based games are relatively nascent in their development, and many leaders and enthusiasts within the traditional video game market may see these games as scams. Zelenin addressed this sentiment, discussing the studio's goal to help legitimize the crypto gaming market:
"We hope that our game will be one of the cornerstones of an emerging crypto gaming market, which is indeed in its early stages. And we believe our game will help both traditional game enthusiasts and crypto gaming fans realize that there are benefits to having a serious project on the blockchain. Hopefully, smaller development teams, seeing our example, will be encouraged to create engaging games based on the principles and mechanics we used. Generally speaking, we want other game industry companies to see this market is not full of scams and that code transparency and middleman-free conditions are the things that help this market to expand."
Apart from the game itself, the studio has been working on a sister title tentatively titled "Space Arena." This game would allow players to battle it out within the world of 0xUniverse.
Although the game has only been on the blockchain for a few days, it has attracted a sizable audience. 0xUniverse was ready to launch in early June, but dedicated fans wanted a planet presale. The 0xGames team agreed to the fans' request and rolled out a three-part presale campaign that ended on June 25. Players were able to obtain 223 (or 67 percent) of the 333 planets at auction, with a combined value estimated at 190 ETH. "We are always looking to … listen carefully to our community to know what it is they want so that we can make it happen," Zelenin noted.
0xUniverse can be played on Ethereum-enabled browsers.
ETHNews does not endorse investment into 0xGames or any other project.