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Breakpoint 2023: A Framework for On-Chain Gaming

An insight into the new on-chain gaming framework introduced at Breakpoint 2023.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


During the final presentation at Breakpoint 2023, Andrea, alongside co-founder Gabriela, introduced a novel on-chain gaming framework that promises to enhance the gaming experience by utilizing blockchain technology. This new framework aims to leverage the inherent properties of blockchain, such as permissionless mods, persistency, and open economies, which set it apart from traditional gaming infrastructures. Despite the challenges of building on-chain games, due to their scalability and complexity, the framework aims to offer solutions like high throughput, on-demand scaling, and customization without fragmentation. The talk dives into the technicalities of how the framework operates, including the Entity Component System (ECS) and ephemeral rollups for scalability, making it a significant development for game developers and the wider gaming industry.

Key Points:

The Need for On-Chain Gaming

On-chain gaming proposes a paradigm shift from traditional gaming architecture to a decentralized one which has dynamic features like permissionless modifications, persistency, and open economies. The speakers discuss how these properties enable games to serve not only as sources of entertainment but also as platforms for socializing, commerce, and contributions from players and developers alike. This transformative approach aims to empower even the smallest development teams to become content powerhouses.

Introducing The Bold Framework

With the recognition of existing frameworks' tendency to compromise performance for composability, Andrea and Gabriela introduced "Bold," which purports to retain high throughput for on-chain games while remaining composable and customizable. Built for compatibility with Solana and other VM-based blockchains, "Bold" offers functionalities such as ephemeral rollups for game sessions and a high-performance, VM-based framework. It also integrates with popular game engines like Unity, providing a front end for games developed within this ecosystem.

Entity Component System (ECS)

An essential feature of the Bold framework is its Entity Component System (ECS), which centers around maximizing composability. The ECS includes entities, which are identifiers within a world instance; components, data associated with entities; and systems, the logic operating on these components. This structure allows for ease of reuse and integration, thanks to its open registry where developers can contribute and utilize different components for their game development needs, streamlining the process significantly.

Ephemeral Rollups for Scalability

To address the challenges of latency and throughput in multiplayer games, "Bold" utilizes ephemeral rollups. These are optional and compatible acceleration layers that scale on demand and can handle high-performance operations, like quick transaction processing, while still interacting with the base blockchain layer. The ephemeral rollups create a dynamic where transactions and account states can be executed in parallel, with a specialized runtime that can be customized for game-specific needs without disrupting the integrity of the base layer's composable programs and tools.

Facts + Figures

  • On-chain gaming provides benefits that traditional gaming does not, such as permissionless mods, persistency, and open economies.
  • The new "Bold" framework is designed to be high performance and composable, specifically targeting VM-based blockchains such as Solana.
  • The "Bold" framework introduces a modular and customizable system that supports popular game engines like Unity, Godot, and Phaser.
  • Ephemeral rollups, a feature of the framework, provide on-demand scalability and high throughput, allowing for game sessions that can efficiently handle millions of players.
  • The Entity Component System (ECS) within Bold focuses on maximal composability, enabling developers to easily discover, integrate, and contribute components to games.
  • "Bold" integrates with the existing infrastructure of Solana, including identity, gasless API, and session kits.
  • The ephemeral rollups function in parallel to the base blockchain layer, providing faster transactions and customizable runtime without requiring program deployment on the rollups themselves.

Top quotes

  • "And so essentially, it's this new paradigm where every game's become a platform by default."
  • "And potentially, no matter how small your team is, you can become a content powerhouse."
  • But the fundamental trait of that every single one of these frameworks is doing is they're compromising performance through composability."
  • "Both is modular and it's composable."
  • "Both can achieve order of magnitude more scale thanks to ephemeral rollups."
  • "So we have entities that are essentially just identifiers, registered to a world instance."
  • "All these systems, all these components are really composable and all of the user over game are not users anymore but have become an open, extendable and persistent platform."
  • "It's really suitable for building full on-chain games but there may be cases where... the position updates could be too slow."
  • "We have delegated account which can be updated without troubles and low latency."
  • "Everything is in the same layer, everything is composable and as we mentioned also this specialized runtime can scale and can really be customized."

Questions Answered

What is on-chain gaming?

On-chain gaming is a gaming architecture where the game's state and logic are stored on a blockchain, allowing for decentralized and persistent gaming experiences. This system enables properties like permissionless modification of the game's elements, indefinite game existence without being shut down, and the facilitation of open economies within the games.

Why is the Bold framework significant for on-chain gaming?

The Bold framework stands out because it offers a solution to the common tradeoff between performance and composability in on-chain gaming frameworks. It provides high throughput, on-demand scaling capabilities, and customization opportunities, which enable games to handle large numbers of players without compromising performance.

How does the Entity Component System (ECS) benefit game developers?

The Entity Component System (ECS) within the Bold framework allows game developers to be highly composable with their gaming elements. By providing an architecture that includes reusable systems and components in a public registry, developers can effectively integrate and enhance their games without starting from scratch, facilitating a more collaborative and efficient development process.

What are ephemeral rollups, and how do they work?

Ephemeral rollups are an acceleration layer within the Bold framework that temporarily provides high throughput and low latency transaction processing alongside the base blockchain layer. They scale on demand for game sessions, closing after use and settling the state back onto the base blockchain layer to maintain a consistent and composable ecosystem.

Can the Bold framework integrate with traditional game engines?

Yes, the Bold framework is designed to integrate with commonly utilized game engines, such as Unity, Godot, and Phaser, effectively bridging the gap between traditional game development and on-chain gaming platforms. This allows game developers to use familiar tools while taking advantage of the blockchain's unique properties.