Published in


zkLend X MatchboxDAO AMA Recap 22/09/2022

In between ZEND&FRIENDS AMA ‘StarkNet Educatooors’ Series 3 and ‘StarkNet Native DeFi’ Series 4, Co-Founder Brian hosted a new AMA with MatchboxDAO’s Growth Team member, Elie. StarkNet game founders: Iris from Frens Lands and Myst from Odyssey also joined them in what turned out to be quite an intriguing conversation.

Full Recording

Listen to the full recording on our Spotify now.


Frens Lands [04:24]

Frens Lands is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game. Your ultimate goal in the game is to build a community and make it thrive by managing your land’s attractivity ratio. Basically how it works is that the more your land is attractive the more frens that are going to join your community. We calculate your land’s attractivity ratio based on different sub-ratio like health and security. As a player, you’re going to have to satisfy your frens’ needs so that they don’t leave you. And we are also adding features to allow players to unlock new technology and research building, and players will have to handle various events like weather, natural disasters, pandemics and so on, so all those random events will impact the attractivity ratio.

For now, it’s a game that you can only play in solo mode, but we are already thinking of ways to add more multiplayer modes. One that will be more around domination, where you have two players that would be spawned at a more significant land and they would have to conquer space blocks, looks more like an economic war. And one that would be more casual gameplay where you can experience the solo game but with friends on a more extensive land.

We started the game during the MatchboxDAO in July and we’ve continued the project since then. We already launched some testing sessions of our hackathon build in August, and we are currently working on a new version with added features.

Odyssey [07:43]

There are three main aspects to the game. First of all, it’s a game with planets that happens on a huge board game, it’s kind of like a persistent, very very slow dungeons and dragons game set in the galaxy where every player collects planets and there are ERC-721 (NFTs) and they use some energy to move across the board. It is also a community tool because the goal is to try as much as possible without having to push too much data on-chain to allow people to customise their world. It kind of reflects whatever they want, and what I mean by that is that, is that I would love it to be a tool for DAOs, NFT projects or just a group of friends just to have like a starting point in their story. Let’s say you’re launching an NFT project with frogs, for example, you might want to get yourself a homeworld that you can call your own that encapsulates the whole story around your project. At the end of the day have some kind of huge phonebook where all the planets, you can scroll the galaxy and zoom into any planet to get information about the project, get their URL and connect with the protocol.

Finally, a gamified tool as well, we are using a 2D array for planets to move around. So everybody has an X and Y position across space. There are some interesting mechanics to explore with that. Let’s say you have seven different planets, then you could draw a geometric shape in between all these points and suddenly create an area on-chain and that means that you can also collect a list of addresses in a new which is space. If you’re a DAO and have enough planets to form a system and you arrange them on the board in a special shape then you can query a list of addresses of all the planets who are standing within your zone and that means that you can either do stuff inside the game but you can also have a check through an interface on your protocol and you can do an airdrop for example for users that are a part of your corner of the universe.

MatchboxDAO [12:49]

At MatchboxDAO we are building the entire infrastructure for games that are being built on-chain allowing anybody to pick any the bricks from the library and just plugin to the games, then just allowing anyone to build a game in a fraction of the time than if they to do it by themselves. To give some context on Frens Lands and Odyssey. Iris came from our first hackathon which is also the way we have people join our community and build on StarkNet, and Myst is one of our partners, from one of the teams that we incubated so we are very close to them too.

At the moment we are not like a DAO in the way we think of it, in a very official way, more like a Discord at the moment, building this community. Then we will come down with a DAO, token and all the governance needed. We operate on Discord, hold community calls every week, and hackathons, we are building this community of people who can talk to each other, about the issues they have and work on them. Now we are just building and Discord is the main way we operate.

Key Infrastructure Tools [18:28]

StarkNet isn’t fully ready yet, it is still the very beginning. So we have done about twenty partnerships with teams, they are the layers at the moment. We aim to get more and more builders through hackathons and other events. We have a few bricks, and a few layers, not to mention all of them, we have music tooling, MEV stuff, and some type of PoC like on StarkNet. It’s really about the compound effect, the more people that build and provide a library, the more we will be able to diverge into the ecosystem and accomplish what we aim to do which is to allow builders to pick anything they want and plug it since it’s open source, but now it’s really about building, building, getting more projects to join and gathering as many components as possible.

Interoperability Between Games [20:49]

Interoperability is something that we have been thinking about when building Frens Lands, and I agree, NFTs play a big part. I think interoperability in some way is a bit difficult because you don’t want to make an impact on the economy of another game. Sometimes it is complicated to create a pass between two projects. Right now we are exploring how to create props, like special decorations, buildings, and skins that players could unlock if they played another game or they owned another NFT. So it’s more on customising your community and your land based on Web3 identity, but then you could also think of giving the ability to extend resources from one game to another game, and that’s something that could only be enabled if we all used NFTs.

There are a lot of people that come into the Web3 space and are super excited to make Web3 games and it makes sense to them, very rightfully so, that Web3 games are the future or the evolution of gaming. But then a lot of people just transfer a lot of the gameplay that exists in the traditional gameworld in the Web3 space most of the time by just replacing the soft currencies with ERC-20 tokens. This may be fun for economic reasons but at the end of the day for the players, it doesn’t make any difference, they don’t care if their gold coins are on the game developer’s server or on-chain. A lot of the games have very realistic graphics, like FPS, or MMO RPGs, which by the way is the hardest type of game to get right, so many projects fail and so few of them are worthy of your attention and time. It’s a little bit tricky because you see a lot of teams with very talented people who have never done games before who are trying now and they showcase 30-second clips on Unreal Engine, for example, and it looks cool, but then to make a great game it’s a lot of external factors, very very well calibrated game design if you want to retain players in the long run.

I believe the real systemic change that Web3 is bringing to games is the scarcity through tokens, but mostly NFTs and you have to incorporate that in gameplay that fits this new paradigm. The first choice is resource management games where we give the players a new array of choices. The great improvement in gaming that this is bringing to us is more freedom for players to choose what they use with their resources they are not only constrained by the games proposals, but you can also take your NFT and put it on the free market or build a new game on top of it. I believe that this is what should be leveraged as opposed to doing Call of Duty 5 on Web3 because these other big games just do it better than us, we have another angle to approach.

In terms of interoperability, it is a very difficult problem to solve but it is also the most exciting thing about everything that we’re building. I wish there would be more ecosystem-based interphases. Let’s say when you have a group of protocols that are doing similar stuff you would find some new interphase that would work bringing some interoperability between projects without needing everyone to build from scratch. I would also love to see more people building NFTs in their games that are more blank sheets for character or world-building because everybody who’s launching a game right is making NFTs from scratch and making them very specific to their game. We are yet to see developers who bring us a set of tools that others are going to be able to compose on top and get the ball rolling this way.

Driver to Build On-Chain Games [28:20]

(Myst) The two main drives personally are to try and nurture this new type of exchange between communities because at the end of the day we are free to decide and dispose of the assets we own on-chain as we see fit. This is bringing an enormous amount of possibilities for social interaction over the internet in the same way that I’m World of Warcraft and I’m a sword-smith level 59 I’m going to go to the town centre and find people to buy components from or be able to sell them some items. It’s building in this new range of freedom that we give to the players. The second part is the freedom of building something that is out there to share, that is permissionless, just participating in these new tools that the internet benefits from.

In Frens Lands, we like our players to say that they’re not playing our game but they’re playing their games because they own their assets and they can customise or evolve them as they see fit. — Iris [29:48]

Something else that I think is interesting as a new kind of governance, is how players are implicated in the development of the game which I think is not the case in traditional gaming. I think those are the two most important things for us at Frens Lands and why we chose to build our games completely on-chain.

Weakly vs Strongly On-Chain Games [31:02]

Today games are 90% off-chain and only 10% on-chain, the idea of bringing a game fully on-chain is that we believe, the same way DeFi became what it was because of full composability. You could fork on top of any protocol, anybody could fork and improve the quality of a project, we believe the same will happen with games. If you can build a fully on-chain game, every component of the game is on-chain this allows anybody to re-use these existing bricks and you will also allow people to improve the existing bricks.

The whole point with on-chain is you’re creating bricks that can be used and improved by anybody, this will allow both developers to build games by just picking a brick and plugging it into their games at a fraction of the time. And also, it will allow higher quality bricks because developers will improve the existing blocks time after time. — Elie [32:10]

Contrary to DeFi, you have infinite applications, in DeFi you have done some borrowing, lending, options, and derivatives you have pretty much done everything you can to create more features, but it’s quite limited. But in games, you can imagine an infinite number of applications.

Open-source what you build can seem a little scary if you’re a gaming studio but you will just benefit from another kind of economic model which is super different from what currently exists in Web2 games. Pretty much like DeFi is to create new environments where people can re-use what exists and improve the quality. You create a game like LEGO, this is a longer-term vision, we are not at this stage at all, but that’s the entire idea behind full on-chain games.

From the security standpoint, a lot of people try to make it halfway and it’s very difficult. If you want to half a game half on-chain and half off-chain in terms of releasing any kind of reward on-chain it’s a huge vector attack, it’s very tough to make sure, especially when people are playing at home you need to validate the logic, if you are doing a very slow game like a card game, it’s fine you can validate logic on your server you are not going to need a crazy infrastructure to make sure that it runs smoothly but as soon as you get into more fast-paced games if you’re releasing tokens as a reward or NFTs, anything that has monetary value, people are going to cheat and mess with other players. And after trying many solutions, the easiest way is just to have as much as you can on-chain to not leave that loop.

On-Chain Games on StarkNet [38:56]

When you move to StarkNet you release yourself from the shackles of the EVM which is a very enjoyable feeling. I would say the most obvious answer is the computation, you have access to computation power that you don’t have on the EVM so you can do more fancy stuff. — Myst [39:07]

Especially when you’re used to building in traditional game engines where you have virtually unlimited power to add physics system, etc, when you become a Solidity dev it’s very strange because there’s not much you can do. To me, that’s great because it’s a lot of being constraint by the tools so you have to be a bit creative to make something new, but all in all StarkNet just in general is indeed bringing so much to the table, and as a developer when you start building on it there’s little doubt in your mind that this is the future of the space because it is very difficult to make improvements to the EVM and there are so many problems and here we have an elegant solution to all of it. And when you are developing, this extra computational power allows you to go a step further in terms of what you’re going to propose to the players in terms of gameplay. Having everything on-chain is a great challenge, but at the end of the day we are making games here and it’s really about pushing everything to the limit so you can bring as many options to the player as possible.

(Iris) Something that I’d like to add is the account abstraction that we have on StarkNet. At Frens Lands it will allow us to send different actions made up by one player in one single transaction and also the use of session keys which means that players are going to be able to pre-approve game transactions, basically, right now when you play Frens Lands any time you want to send an action you need to validate the transaction and with session keys that is something that won’t happen anymore you’re going pre-approve transaction in the game and you’re on-chain actions in the game will be more seamless.

About MatchboxDAO

MatchboxDAO is a collective of developers, artists and designers that are building dev tools, infrastructure, and on-chain games on StarkNet.

MatchboxDAO has amassed a library of open-source tools and primitives that can be composed to create on-chain games much quicker and efficiently.


  • provides educational seminars,
  • hosts virtual hackathons
  • and supports gaming devs to start developing in Cairo and onboarding onto the StarkNet ecosystem.

They recently co-hosted their 2nd virtual hackathon on September 28.

Additionally, in August MatchboxDAO recently launched ‘Matchbox Sparks’ to incubate and accelerate young and growing on-chain games and infrastructure on StarkNet.

In this AMA, we also featured @StarknetOdyssey and @FrensLands, which are two fully on-chain RTS resource management games built on StarkNet.

These games are working on the bleeding edge technology to bring organic users interaction and gaming experience onto blockchain.

This section was adapted from our original thread, here.

About zkLend

zkLend is an L2 money-market protocol built on StarkNet, combining zk-rollup scalability, superior transaction speed, and cost-savings with Ethereum’s security. The protocol offers a dual solution: a permissioned and compliance-focused solution for institutional clients, and a permissionless service for DeFi users — all without sacrificing decentralisation.

Website | Twitter | Telegram | Discord | Spotify



zkLend is an L2 money-market protocol built on StarkNet, combining zk-rollup scalability, superior transaction speed, and cost-savings with Ethereum’s security.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

zkLend is an L2 money-market protocol built on StarkNet, combining zk-rollup scalability, superior transaction speed, and cost-savings with Ethereum’s security.