Fortnite on Holochain?

Fortnite clone — MMORPG on Holochain?

What if you built a Fortnite clone on Holochain?

Fortnite is an online video game first released in 2017 and developed by Epic Games. It is available as separate software packages having different game modes that otherwise share the same general gameplay and game engine. While both games have been successful for Epic Games, Fortnite Battle Royale became a resounding success, drawing in more than 125 million players in less than a year, and earning hundreds of millions of dollars per month, and since has been a cultural phenomenon.

After a member of the Holo Telegram channel suggested the possibility of creating a Fortnite clone using Holochain, the idea took on a life of its own among the community. Hence, this treatment.

Gaming and decentralization

Fortnite is an MMORPG that requires massive computational power to track up to 64 concurrent user locations, actions, and impacts on each other and the game environment on a map at millisecond speeds. Distributed processing isn’t, nor does it need to be, a good solution for building and running these games themselves.

What it is good for is creating the conditions for cooperative behavior to emerge and maintain them in a real-world context, where it is imperative to prevent cheating and hold everybody accountable.

Gaming and chains

Comparison of gaming applications on different chains

Holochain has eventual consistency, not immediate consistency. It’s not a game engine. What it can do is power the economics or social systems of such a game, one has to justify why a multiplayer game should have those type of services on Holochain.

It isn’t suited for real-time low latency multi-player games. Just because Holochain is endlessly scalable does not mean it’s lightning fast and can compete with every protocol on earth on every application and context. That’s fine. The hosting and social part of games is best suited for Holochain.

Agent-centric gaming may reduce the risk of theft and hacks on large gaming systems employing micropayments. “Holonite” will not be any time soon though.

Existing games on Holochain

There are already Holochain-based games out there. The most developed one is MinerSweeper, a take on the well-known classic MineSweeper, but with a crypto flavor that incorporates the idea of mining and cryptocurrencies.

From the project description: “A massively multiplayer version of the classic game Minesweeper. Instead of sweeping mines the goal is to sweep away those pesky altcoins!”

Made by the first set of Holo 2018 interns, it demonstrates the “real-time-ish” ability of Holochain to manage many parallel player actions in a way that provides a relatively coherent and thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience. New games that startups would be well advised to take lessons from its design principles as well as the way it leverages a smart narrative to draw people in.

Possible Holochain adoption in the gaming community

Especially the earliest games in this space will need to draw on story as much as they will need to emphasize unique features, such as interoperability between all games on Holochain, as well as between games and other types of Holochain-based applications.

The most likely path to adoption for Holochain in the gaming community is through games that can leverage Holochain’s unique strengths in useful ways. These strengths lie especially in areas like sophisticated currency systems, reputation scores, and complex social coordination. Thanks to this unique property of the ecosystem, a very interesting and as yet unexplored space opens up for explorers to discover and chart a course through.

Indeed, the category of games that shows most promise is that of Alternate Reality Games that intermesh the online and offline worlds. By overlaying reality with a virtual HUD (heads up display), pulling data from social media accounts of players, and giving this data specific in-game meaning, all kinds of things become possible. I am thinking specifically of things like Decentralized Dance Parties, Pokemon Go-style activism, or even decidedly pro-social applications like coordinated park clean-ups. Imagine an application for your neighborhood that surfaces ways to make life better together, gives you the means to organize around them, and perhaps accrue reputation on individual and group levels.

Also, games that require micropayments to work well are a natural fit for Holochain-based currencies, thanks to the ease with which mutual credit-based payment systems can avoid charging excessive fees. If an agent-centric poker game was built with unity it could be played on PlayStation and other gaming devices. The benefit would be to keep your funds in your account and not in some central gaming service.

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Holochain has eventual consistency, not immediate consistency. It’s not a game engine. But what it can do is power the economics or social systems of such a game, but one has to justify why a multiplayer game should have those type of services on Holochain.