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An Open-Source Game Studio Building Autonomous Worlds

We are Etherplay, an open-source game studio established in 2016, dedicated to crafting fun games only possible thanks to blockchain technology, that is: permissionless and persistent. These are games without admin or server, where player actions drive their evolution entirely on-chain.

Nowadays, they're often referred to as "Autonomous Worlds" but we've been creating such games long before this term became common. Our journey began in 2016 with our verifiable arcade machine, which gained traction in early 2017. From there, we delved into fully on-chain games by mid-2017 and eventually ventured into persistent on-chain games, or Autonomous Worlds, with Ethernal in 2019.

Through our experiences, we've learned a great deal. By early 2020, we realized we could reduce on-chain gas demand by scaling gameplay over time and emphasizing social coordination while eliminating grinding mechanics. This led to the birth of Conquest.eth, featuring a minimalist core gameplay that fostered a unique social experience, where collaboration was key. It took two years of development, including two alpha and one beta phases, to finally launch the first persistent version of Conquest in April 2022. Then, in October 2023, we removed our admin keys, which were only used for bug fixes, making Conquest arguably the second live autonomous world after Huntercoin.

In 2023, our focus shifted primarily to building tools aimed at minimizing maintenance so that launching autonomous worlds becomes a smoother process. This resulted in two projects:

  • "ethereum-indexer": A modular JavaScript indexer framework written in TypeScript, capable of running in browsers and catching up from remote snapshots if needed.

  • "FUZD": A commit+reveal system designed to conceal player actions from hosts until it's time to reveal.

Both tools are currently in the alpha stage and are being utilized for our latest game, "Stratagems." We're constantly refining them as we speak. We also maintain a template featuring these tools in a neat package that we use to get started on new projects: Jolly-Roger. Handy for hackathons.

In 2024, our primary focus will be launching games, and we're excited to soon release a play-test of Stratagems. It explores a unique yet pervasive approach to composability, which we refer to as "Natural Composability," and we're eager to see what other games can be built upon this foundation. More on that in future updates. An open play-test is coming soon too.

Hope this get you excited as much as we are. Feel free to also join our discord if you are not already in:

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