Dungeon crawler

4 min readJan 19, 2020


tl;dr: Ethernal is a multiplayer dungeon generated entirely from the blockchain, inspired by classic text and grid-based MUD games. We’ll begin testing Alpha by the beginning of February. Get your claim key by tweeting “open sesame” to @EthernalWorld.

Update: Thanks everyone for the great response. All claim keys have been reserved and sent out on 02/07. Learn more about the Alpha 1.0 test in this post.

Our Alpha 2.0 is coming soon! Sign up for our updates on ethernal.world. Want to be an Alpha 2.0 tester? Tweet “open sesame” to @EthernalWorld.

“The Ethernal is spoken of in hushed whispers around fire pits. Yes, there is untold wealth in that labyrinth, leftover from a forgotten civilization. There is also damnation. Legend holds that whoever lived in those depths were wiped out in a single night of cataclysmic horror, leaving behind a warren of endlessly looping halls. Only the treasure of a long-lost people remains, but who would be willing to seek it out?”

Procedurally generated game world on Ethereum

Ethernal is a multiplayer dungeon game that is entirely generated from the blockchain. You explore the dungeon to discover (generate) new rooms. In these rooms, you’ll find items and monsters. You can collaborate with other players to defeat monsters, or race against them to be the first to discover new room and rare items. Your character will level up to explorer the deeper, more dangerous parts of the dungeon. But remember, if you die you will lose everything that you carry and others can scavenge your remains.

Early rogue-like games

The original idea of creating a classic-MUD-like game on the blockchain came after discovering Ethereum in 2016. The blockchain seems like a great fit for procedurally generating game worlds. Edward A Thomson had written about a similar idea of building a rogue-like game on Parity’s Substrate.

Procedural generation has been used in video games for a long time to automatically create large amount of content within game worlds. The method combines 1) assets created by the designer, 2) algorithms (rules for generating the content), 3) computer-generated randomness, and 4) processing power. The blockchain can be used to define the rules for generation (written in the smart contracts), generate randomness (using block hashes), and provide processing power (via nodes on the blockchain).

But there were a lot of limitation to building a game entirely on chain back in 2016. Fast forward to today, there are various developments within the Ethereum community to allow faster, cheaper transactions (xdai, matic, eth2), better wallet management and on boarding flow (Portis, Authereum, burner wallet). So we are giving this idea a go and starting by going back to the basics: focusing on core gameplays of classic MUDs and taking advantage of crypto and blockchain specific features.

These are our main gameplays:

  • Explore: discover new rooms and collect elements from special areas, reveal the story and map of the Ethernal.
  • Strategize: whether it’s battling with monsters, managing your inventory, or leveling up your character, you’ll need to make meaningful choices to get to the deepest level of the dungeon without dying (too often).
  • Collect and trade: items, equipments, coins, and elements that you collect are all tokens that you can freely trade outside of the dungeon.
  • Collaborate (or compete): work with other players to combine resources and skills to defeat monsters. Or race against other players to be the first to discover new rooms and collect elements and rare items.

Building entirely on the blockchain

The benefit of building a game entirely on chain is that it ensure fairness and transparency for the players.

  • We cannot change the rules (or the drop rate!): room generation and monsters combat are dictated by the rules of the smart contracts. Once a room is generated, it cannot be changed (unless by another player, e.g. if they die in the room and drops their items).
  • Guaranteed rarity: just like the drop rate, rarity of items you collect will never change. They will stay rare.
  • True ownership: everything you collect in Ethernal are tokens that you can freely trade on third party marketplaces.
  • Interoperability: you can use your collection in other dungeons or games created by us or other developers. Other developers can easily build on our standard dungeon crawler. For example, a PvP game can be easily implemented with the game assets.

The down side of building entirely on chain is that every action has a transaction cost. For the Alpha, we are using the Sokol network (a testnet of xdai, a stable coin blockchain that bridges to the Ethereum network) for generating rooms and dictating monster combat results to provide faster and cheaper transactions. (We’ll explore a more decentralized network option for our Beta) Also, instead of having to pay for each transaction, we consolidate transaction fees into one fee which you pay at the beginning of the game and recharge when needed. Collected items would still be tokens on the Ethereum network.

HTML5 game: we designed the game for the mobile web, but you will be able to play on any web browser. Our game works with web3 wallets such as Metamask. For players new to crypto, we integrated with Portis so that you won’t need to download any app or plugins to start playing. We’ll detail more of our UX design as well as technical implementation in later posts.

We hope these efforts will make our decentralized game much easier (and more fun) for people new to crypto and bring more people into the ecosystem.

Be an Alpha tester

We are getting ready for Alpha testing for the beginning of February. Claim your key to try your skills in the Ethernal! We are giving out 50 claim keys. Tweet “open sesame” to @EthernalWorld, and we’ll send you a claim key.

Find us in the Ethernal,

Ronan, Jia, Lumir