The Astral Colossus

Lindsay
dfdao
Published in
6 min readOct 3, 2021

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dfdao was created in May 2021 based on the belief that players could achieve higher scores in Dark Forest if they played together. In Round 2 we tested this theory at a larger scale when we invited community members to help us outscore orden_gg by gifting their empires to us. We came in 2nd place and built a community of Dark Forest enthusiasts called The Remembered.

After our second place finish, some DF community members pointed out that our rally to have players gift empires to dfdao’s account was not in the spirit of the game, since the gifting process was not trustless. We did not actually have a permissionless mechanic to enable group gameplay.

So we built one.

Today, with The Astral Colossus, we are testing something that has never been done before. And we hope you’ll join us in this endeavor.

What is The Astral Colossus?

The Astral Colossus is a smart contract that is whitelisted and initialized in the game as a player with a home planet. It cannot move. It does not have a private key. It cannot withdraw artifacts. It can only withdraw silver from a spacetime rip, find artifacts on foundries that have already been prospected, and then return gifted planets.

This round, we are not using a player account to play the game. The game will be run by The Astral Colossus, enabling players to gift planets and artifacts to the smart contract that will contribute to dfdao’s score on the Dark Forest Leaderboard.

The same contract will record contributions by each player and we will display them on a separate community leaderboard that can be viewed in the plug-in.

Why Should Players Participate?

The tech is one-of-a-kind.

This is the first project in Dark Forest where the account playing will be a smart contract rather than an individual player, or a group of players sharing keys. Not only is this project unique in Dark Forest, but it is unique in the broader community of Web3 gaming. By participating, we will all be at this new frontier together.

If we win, we win together.

If the Astral Colossus wins this round of Dark Forest, or a future round, everyone who contributed will own a piece of the victory. Your proportional contribution will be recorded in the smart contract and tracked on the Astral Colossus’ leaderboard. WAGMI.

Victory becomes attainable for more players.

Competition in the Dark Forest is cutthroat. There is a steep learning curve, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get into one of the top 63 positions and receive a prize planet. The Astral Colossus is a solution that can motivate new players, players with fewer resources, and players with less time to participate and have a shot at victory. You don’t need to be a degen to win.

Someone needs to beat orden_gg.

Orden_gg has won twice in a row and is at the top of the leaderboard as we speak. If we band together for a collective victory, we can defeat Dark Forest’s unofficial raid boss together.

How Do I Participate?

The smart contract automates withdrawing silver in a spacetime rip and discovering new artifacts, the two scoring requirements for this round.

To be a part of the Astral Colossus, players build their empires, gather silver, and discover foundries as normal. Players will need to visit the Astral Colossus Website and follow the steps there to add the plugin to their plugin library.

Once a player has a spacetime rip full of silver or a foundry that is ready to be prospected, they should:

  1. select the planet of interest.
  2. run the plugin and click “contribute.”

The plugin will complete the following steps, depending on the type of gift:

If a player is gifting a spacetime rip full of silver:

  1. Register the player’s ownership of that planet with the Colossus.
  • Only the planet’s owner can register themselves

2. Transfer ownership of the rip from player to Colossus.

3. Colossus will withdraw the silver from the spacetime rip

  • Colossus’ score in the game will increase by silver withdrawn / 1000
  • Player’s score in the Colossus contract will increase by silver withdrawn / 1000.

4. Colossus will transfer ownership back to the player that registered ownership in step 1.

If the player is gifting an unprospected foundry

  1. Prospect the foundry.
  2. Register the player’s ownership of that planet with the Colossus
  3. Transfer ownership of the foundry from player to Colossus
  4. Colossus will find the artifact on the foundry.
  • Colossus’ score in the game will increase by the same artifact score that Dark Forest uses.
  • Player’s score in the Colossus contract will increase by the same artifact score that Dark Forest uses.

5. Colossus will transfer ownership back to the player that registered ownership in step 1.

Additionally, if you are a Dark Forest plug-in developer and you find ways to improve this plug-in, we welcome you making pull requests on our open source repo here. You’re also welcome to fork this code and make your own ways of interacting with the Colossus.

A Note on Troubleshooting

Our tests have demonstrated that having a clear transaction queue and a relatively high gas price will result in the most success for this multi-step process.

See our FAQ + Troubleshooting doc for debugging help.

You are also welcome to join our Astral Colossus discord channel if you need support while using the plug-in.

What’s the Point?

In our article, The Crypto Gaming Governance Thesis, we shared a bit about why we are building dfdao and what we hope to contribute to the community:

Our goal is to strive for victory in Dark Forest while using a variety of cooperative mechanisms. We hope that some of these mechanisms will be applicable to other blockchain games and eventually other DAO structures at large.

In order to play blockchain games in teams, as DAOs, or in other group formats, infrastructure will be needed that enables true permissionless and decentralized collaboration within game clients. The customizability of Dark Forest offers us a unique opportunity to experiment with smart contracts that enable just that.

Some Important Details

Should the Astral Colossus win a planet, we intend to put it in a treasury that will eventually be governed by a community token. We have not figured out a legal, logistical, or fair distribution of any community token to date. Everything we are doing is risky and uncertain. Treat this as an experiment and know that our community is the highest valued asset we have.

A Note on the Meaning of “Astral Colossus”

In 2017 a man named Tim Urban wrote an article on his blog Wait but Why titled “Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future.” In it, he introduces the idea of the human colossus.

The premise of this concept is that all of humanity can be considered as a single organism, the human colossus. The colossus is not just a collection of biological organisms, but also all of the knowledge that has accumulated over the entire history of the species.

This thought experiment was proposed as a way of thinking about how we might combat AI as it becomes more intelligent than humanity as a whole over time. If we empower the human colossus (with AI via neuralink in this case) then we stand a chance against the AI colossus.

This analogy fits well with what we’re trying to build within Dark Forest, as the smart contract is an organism that is a collective of all players contributing to it, and all the skills and knowledge about the game they possess.

We changed Human to Astral because in the Dark Forest, our home is in the stars.

Special Thanks

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