Our team was initially inspired by the famous Prison Break TV series and the Play-to-Earn game ‘the Wolf Game’ (https://wolf.game/). By combining these two we created the first Play-to-Earn game on the Theta blockchain - while our vision is to become a game studio and create a Theta ecosystem of games.
What it does
The Prison Break Game is a strategic Play-to-Earn game that sends 50 players into prison for 45 days. For the duration of the game, the prisoners will try to escape in order to secure themselves a treasure that is awaiting them outside the prison walls. A rapidly growing amount of TFUEL will be stored in the treasure. All prisoners constantly face a tradeoff between initiating a breakout attempt (i.e. going for the treasure) and patiently waiting for the treasure to grow more. Therewith, only the best-equipped prisoners will successfully escape.
How we built it
First, there were long discussions about the game mechanics - the idea initially sparked out of a game theory experiment (centipede game and prisoners’ dilemma) that we wanted to play around with. Then, we had to think about building a nice story around it. Next, we started writing on the whitepaper and created a website, social media accounts, and NFTs for the in-game items (and characters). We also started to develop smart contracts. By now, the smart contracts are already working but still have to be integrated into the front-end as an interactive web application.
Challenges we ran into
Originally, we had planned to stake TFUEL. Then, the staking rewards should have automatically been transferred into the treasure. This did not work because the fee address can only receive 10% of the staking rewards. To get the required amount of TFUEL flow into the game smart contract, a huge sum of TFUEL staked in different pools would have been needed. Now, we are solving this by letting the treasure grow by a certain amount of TFUEL per second. Additionally, another challenge was the implementation to finalize a breakout. Here, we had to figure out a way so that the maximum gas fee is not too big when transfering all the TNT721 tokens back to the players' wallets. We solved this by only transferring back the NFTs of the losers. Also, not all NFTs are returned. The winners now need to claim their prices and then also get back the Gun NFT in case they used one (as this one is not lost after a breakout).
Accomplishments that we're proud of
For us, it’s been the first time to design a game in an end-to-end process and all by ourselves. We are proud to have this challenge mastered and to finally introduce the first Play-to-Earn game to the Theta ecosystem. The smart contracts are ready and the feedback in the community is very positive. We can’t wait to go live and get started!
What we learned
We have learned a lot about how to design a game. There are not only game-theoretical challenges like the mechanics but a large part is also about storytelling. In a good game, a clever strategy should obviously lead to a higher expected winning probability but most importantly players should have fun while playing it. Combining these two aspects with the third, a financial reward for all players, was quite a challenge to make the game mechanics work and sustainable.
What's next for Theta Games - Prison Break Game
Characters will be mintable at the end of May (2022). The first round of the Prison Break Game will start in the beginning of June. The winners of Round 1 qualify for an even bigger second round, starting in August. Further rounds will follow that will be larger in size and with several prisons operating at the same time. A league system might be introduced (i.e. winners can be promoted to prisons with greater profit opportunities). The integration of an own token is planned for Q3. Thereby, players’ rewards can be increased and the game mechanics would change to an ‘ongoing game’ instead of only playing rounds.
In the future, we’re planning to develop more games that will be introduced by the start of 2023. The focus will be on Play-to-Earn strategy games and Play-to-Earn sports fantasy games.