Game Design Process
The progress of Web3 development is moving quickly and is now upon us with the expansion of blockchain, NFTs and ownership, this has brought a whole new dimension to what was traditionally known as the B2C model
The industry currently adopting Web3 is Gaming, with the advent of some major players Gala games , Decentraland and new games Axie infinity and sandbox consumers are embracing blockchain technology in the millions.
Here at Web3create we are creating Metaverse as as Service (MaaS) opportunities for merchants and SMEs to have direct access, and be part of the next generation of marketing and sales though integrating business products seamlessly into game play.
But first we need to explain what is Web3 and how does it actually work, below is an interesting article from one of our development partners Moralis explaining how game companies are implementing Web3 technology into games.
Web3 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, java script and Unity proficient developers with no prior web3 knowledge are creating killer dapps (decentralized applications). Now, as we move forward, we will first cover the basics of Web3 and Web3 gaming to get you all up to speed.
We will also explain 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.
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.
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 purchase products advertised in the game and also develop loyalty or coupon points with their in-game assets directly from a merchants website.
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, upending the current B2C business model.
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 working with our development partner Moralis we can integrate with Unity to create Web3 metaverse and Web3 games.
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 Web3Create working with merchants decide which crypto features to include. NFTs product fit in the game advertisements etc, 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 Web3Create 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.
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, this is where prizes, challenges and missions can be implemented into the games while working with the correct product fit.
Moreover, players can also 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.
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, this is where we can fit the merchants product to the player type.
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 with product fit from merchants . 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.
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:
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.
As you can see by incentivizing players and matching products from merchants to players, we are able to get higher retention and product sales for merchants, thereby delivering (MaaS) Metaverse as a Service for our clients and rewarding our players of our games.