OmiseGO AMA special with community partner HOARD.

We said we’d be changing things up a bit with our AMAs, so at the beginning of this month we gave the community an opportunity to speak to one of our partners HOARD — the creators of the first OMG Network application: Plasma Dog. We received a lot of great questions for HOARD regarding their work, working with OmiseGO, and the future of the gaming industry. HOARD has answered all your questions, so we’re breaking it up into three separate posts.

This series was broken into 3 parts. In the series, we have Sławomir Bubel, AKA “Malfunction” or “Malf”, HOARD CEO; Cyryl Matuszewski, HOARD Lead Programmer; and Radek Zagórowicz, Hoard Programmer, Plasma Researcher, answer the OmiseGO community’s questions. 

The original articles can be found on the OmiseGO and Hoard blogs: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Malf: We can cooperate on improving Plasma with our ideas instead of just using technology.

Cyryl: The most advanced work on Plasma MVP. A big benefit is that part of their team is working in the same office we do so the communication is great :)

Radek: First of all, we prefer solutions where it’s possible to exit to a stable chain like Ethereum. So when a plasma chain user wants to move their tokens to Ethereum mainnet and then to any other layer two solution, they can do so whenever they want to. Second, OmiseGO plasma is the only working, professional layer two solution on Ethereum.

Q: What benefits do you see for Hoard in using OmiseGO network?

Cyryl: Speed and throughput are one thing. Secondly the possibility to customize logic for collecting fees from transfers. And last but not least, the possibility to transfer users tokens to and from the main Ethereum network on demand (which gives users an additional security level). This is why we have chosen Plasma instead of other possibilities. Of course there are features we need to implement on top of Plasma, like NFT support or token state support, and before choosing Plasma we had to evaluate how hard it would be to implement those features. As of today, NFT support is done (although not yet integrated into the main branch). We would like to use the official OmiseGO network instead of our own plasma deployment so players have access to OmiseGO special features like fiat and other crypto currency conversions.

Q: What did you like the most or the coolest thing about the OmiseGO SDK?

Radek: During the Plasma integration process, we used omg-js library and we haven’t experienced any problems. We also received strong support from the OmiseGO team. For other programming languages (C#, C++) we had to implement our own libraries in C# and C++.

We think the coolest recent thing about the plasma integration was the deployment of Ari testnet on Rinkeby. We were able to switch Plasma Dog to Ari and gave our players additional experience on the Ethereum testnet where they can exit (move their tokens back to Ethereum mainnet) now. Moreover, we plan to provide additional functionality in Plasma Dog, allowing users to consolidate and move their tokens to the Ethereum Rinkeby testnet with “one click”. This will be an additional interesting use case for us and the OmiseGO team when thousands of players will have to consolidate their UTXOs and redeposit them to the new plasma chain.

Q: Can you explain us benefits and differentiation of using Hoard marketplace instead of Steam or it’s alternatives?

Malf: We are building a platform that is focused on both players and game developers. They don’t have to be crypto-experienced, as we can retro-fit blockchain solutions to existing games — like My Memory of Us, by Juggler Games. With our platform we want to build a scalable ecosystem where games can interact with each other and ultimately, in the future, become part of the so-called Metaverse.

In the beginning we want to focus on carefully chosen games that will use interoperability between each other. The more interesting games will populate our ecosystem — the more opportunities of interesting gameplay, True Ownership and other blockchain goodies (like items with independent stories written in blockchain, perma-death or in-game mercenaries contracts) will be there.

Developers will be able to introduce fees on all the trades (including renting), while content creators, thanks to the royalties system, will have their part of the pie. We also want to bring crowdfunding opportunities tailored for game developers and leveraged blockchain inherent security features (e.g temper-resistance, lack of single point of failure) to defend ourselves from scams.

Q: How do you think Steam will jump in the blockchain arena? Future competitors or potential partner?

Malf: I perceive all the existing platforms like potential partners rather than competitors. The game industry is so huge that there is space for everyone.

Q: What restricts a malicious player (cheater/hacker) from transferring or trading his item tokens? Scenario: A cheating player is banned from a game, but has amassed a lot of item tokens. Will he be able to make a profit? Are there any possible restrictions by a “trusted party” to prevent this misuse?

Cyryl: We wouldn’t like to disallow anyone trading or transferring in general, but developers will be able to prevent some actions in the game ie. by blacklisting malicious accounts. Also we can ban such players from making trades on our exchange portal. The question is, should we? I think such cases should be solved case-by-case in cooperation with game studios. This certainly requires more discussion since censorship might be required but is not well perceived.

Q: If, and when do you plan on issuing tokens. Also, what utility would the token have?

Malf: We plan to issue the HRD token this month, so pretty soon!

Regarding token utility: The Hoard Network maintains a number of stakeholders, including game developers, players, investors, community participants, video game service providers, and even Hoard, the company. Primary token utilities are (but not restricted to): fees, benefits and platform tiers, which are the part of services like marketplace and crowdfunding platform. Benefits will be mostly related to game developers and actual games while through the Tier System our platform will reward token holders by giving them access to more and more features. Both Tier and Benefits mechanisms are possible thanks to enhanced staking logic.

Q: The progress of OmiseGO is quite slow now. Are you satisfied with their existing progress? Can the existing OMG SDK build your final product and how long will you take to build it?

Radek: We don’t think that the progress is slow. They do a lot with improving plasma MoreVP and adding support for different transactions formats. Moreover they work on DEX working with plasma MoreVP. We know that a significant amount of work related to plasma is research, which can look like a lack of progress from the outside, but we know that they do a really good job now.

The current OmiseGO plasma implementation is used by Plasma Dog, but for more advanced integration (game-blockchain) it requires support for more token types in plasma. We will work on it together with the OmiseGO team.

Q: How dependent is Hoard on the development of the OMG network?

Cyryl: After thorough evaluation of different scalability projects we chose OmiseGO’s Plasma MVP. We are working together to expand it with some game-specific features so it’s rather choice of cooperation/partnership than dependency.

Radek: Moreover we work on plasma implementation together with OmiseGO plasma team now. We believe that together we can implement plasma solution which will support all the features required by Hoard platform. On the other hand OmiseGO has a good and stable partner in Hoard which already generates biggest traffic on Ari testnet by deploying only one game. We also provide valuable feedback and new ideas on Plasma design.

Q: Is it possible to integrate with existing games & if so, how difficult would that be? Or do games need to be built from the ground up with Hoard in mind. Really any game with a real economy would benefit.Hoard would have been great for the blunder that was the Diablo 3 Real world money auction house.

Cyryl: Integration with existing games is our main target here. Hoard is working on the toolset (HoardSDK) to allow integration in easy and intuitive way. But the tech is not everything. One has to be mindful not to break gameplay or hinder game economy by allowing players to trade items between each other. So all integrations have to be done in tight cooperation with game designers.

Chris: It is definitely possible to integrate with existing games. As an example, we are retrofitting blockchain into multiple existing titles now, including our recently announced integration, My Memory of Us. My Memory of Us was originally released last October on Xbox One, Playstation 4, the Nintendo Switch, and Steam. We’ll be deploying True Ownership to the Steam version of the game first, but there’s no reason why MMoU or any other game on these console platforms couldn’t integrate with Hoard if the developers decided to leverage our SDK. Of course, we’re working to make it as easy as possible to do this so that more studios will make this decision.

Game economies benefit with True Ownership from Hoard.Q: What is the TPS demand(what TPS you would use up) expected on the OMG Network for the game integration you are doing with My Memory of Us?

Cyryl: For MMoU the TPS demand is very low and even Ethereum network is sufficient (although expensive). On average we assume around 1 transaction per 5min per player. This means that we can support more than 1 million players playing 24h a day on OmiseGO network.

Q: What are the features that the OMG Network needs to have(TPS, finality, UX, etc. ) for you to be able to integrate with a AAA game or any high user volume game?

Radek: It depends on the type of game Hoard is integrated with and if all game items are represented on blockchain.

First of all we need support for tokens types required by game logic. i.e. NFT, ERC1155 and many custom types. Very often game logic requires implementing new or modify existing token standard to make it suitable to the logic. So the best solution for us is to be able to customize transaction (modify it to support special items/tokens logic requirements) format in plasma chain and plasma contract.

Regarding TPS from our internal calculation actual theoretical transaction throughput should be enough to run one big AAA MMO or a couple of smaller games. Currently theoretically plasma can handle about 65k tx per 15 seconds. Assuming that every user will do 1 tx per minute we can we run a game with 260k players on plasma chain. But not all AAA games require high TPS.

An example: a player kills a monster and acquires some items that dropped off it. If all items are to be recorded on chain the TPS requirement might be very high (100K players picking 10 items each 30sec = 33K TPS). But developer might decide that only epic/special/unique/rare items are to be recorded as only those items have value. In such case TPS requirement drops significantly (100K players pick 1 item each 60sec = 1.6K TPS). We at Hoard help with the design taking into account throughput and available implementation optimizations(ERC-1155 or ERC-721x).

Another example is a fast-paced fight game like MortalKombat or StreetFighter — they both are high volume AAA games but they certainly do not require a high TPS as players modify their state only at the end of fight (such is the design).

We plan to cooperate with OMG Network as close as possible and work with them on support for all these features required by Hoard. If one plasma chain in not enough to handle all Hoard related transactions we will be improving it or running additional chains where part of traffic can be moved to. Assuming that we run a game with high TPS demand we can move such a game to dedicated plasma chain or chains if the game logic and architecture allows this. Game designer can split the game world and run dedicated plasma chain to every one of these worlds.

In terms of UX — Hoard is making all the necessary work in tools and SDK in user friendly manner so the technical issues are well hidden from the player.

Transaction will fly through the network as quickly and smoothly as Jun on his skateboardQ: How are you as a Case Study for others within your direct field and beyond when it comes to migrating to the OMG network? Can you please outline hurdles / difficulties / benefits and anything you deem to be relevant (both positive and negative) with moving over to OMG.

Cyryl: When you understand that Plasma works on similar principles as Bitcoin chain (UTXO principle) it is a first step. Second thing is that it has no smart contract logic so either the operator has to be reinforced with custom logic (for example multisig) or the logic has to be expressed in terms of UTXO transfer. This sometimes looks like impossible but really requires just a change in the way you think about the problem. One example would be how we added NFT support to the Plasma by simply interpreting amount as ID of an NFT instance. In similar way we are now adding state changes for NFTs. Also all changes needs a careful consideration regarding exit function from plasma and verification process so that we don’t introduce a way for malicious users to steal ones tokens or don’t block some tokens from being moved away of Plasma network.

Q: Can a game like WoW (particularly blizzards upcoming Classic WoW) that does NOT have any integrations with blockchain or crypto in the future develop some kind of backward compatibility with Hoard or NFT features so that we can have ownership of our items.Assuming of course in fantasyland that Blizzard wants to (or will be forced to) embrace this kind of thing.

Cyryl: Sure. Why not. This is the matter of minting required tokens and then transferring them to appropriate players. These tokens could be linked to their state/description using IPFS or any other database (even internal Blizzard db) and this link could be stored inside NFT tokens. This in turn requires some mapping between existing players and their accounts/wallets. So the process is straightforward and there are several ways to do that. Also we as Hoard are happy to help with designing such a process for a particular game. An excellent use case we would like to implement within a game.

Q: Do you see only new assets and collectables being on Blockchain or would it be possible to put older things like TF2 hats on block? Do you need like Steam approval to add things from their games or can you it without?

Chris: It is possible to put older things, like Team Fortress 2 hats, on-chain. Although, it would be trickier than just minting new assets, and the studio — Valve, in this case — would have to make the decision to cooperate with adding True Ownership. To give you an idea, one way Valve could implement True Ownership to an older title, like TF2, would be by pushing a patch that would give every player an Ethereum wallet. They could then deploy a plasma chain initialized with each player’s assets pre-deposited into their Ethereum address.

Q: In your humble opinion, how close is omisego beta to a production ready network? Are there any critical bugs that have not been resolved?

Radek: They made very important step recently which moved them much closer to production ready solution. It was Ari testnet deployment IMO. Now they are very close to run new plasma childchain with MoreVP plasma version which fixed problem with block withholding by malicious operator. We are quite confident that they will deliver production ready solution of MoreVP working on Ethereum mainnet soon.

We have been working with plasma since first OmiseGO private plasma testnet deployment (October 2018) and now with public Ari testnet deployment. We haven’t found any critical bugs so far. It looks that plasma implementation by OmiseGO is really solid and the team make a really good job here.

Q: Hello to everyone at the Hoard Team! @CBobRobison you mention in your interview in the April Newsletter that you are most excited for the fiat on-ramp feature of the OMG Network. Can you share any insight on that mechanism and how it interacts with Hoard?

Chris: So my understanding is this would require an opt-in from a payment processor. If a payment processor builds a wallet which settles on the OMG Network, then all Truly Owned digital assets would exist on the same payment rails. If a player wanted to spend their in-game loot on a cup of coffee, then their user experience might look something like: they open their mobile phone at the register, see the current market rate for their digital loot, select “pay with loot,” confirm payment, and then their coffee is paid for. On the back end, that loot would actually be liquidated on the DEX and a fiat credit or stable coin would be deposited via the payment processor into the cafe’s wallet.

Q: Can you tell us about the biggest problem or downside you have seen when working with the OmiseGO SDK?

Radek: We haven’t used OmiseGO SDK prepared by wallet team yet. We used omg-js in Plasma Dog implementation. We implemented libraries integrating Plasma API in C# and C++ for MMoU and internal project we work on. So we think it would be cool to be a part of a team designing and implementing C# and C++ as counterparts to omg-js.

Q: How familiar are you with Tendermint / Cosmos? Are you doing something about “spooning”? How many developers (number) from Hoard team is also contributing to Plasma/OmiseGo ? DEX mechanism : The DEX module — any developers? Pegging mechanism /A module called Peggy exists. Is it a true bridge to Ethereum and production ready?

Radek: We are familiar with Tendermint and even we were considering using Tenderming / Cosmos Hub for Hoard but we’ve decided to use solution which supports exits to Ethereum main chain. With this feature items owners will be able to move their belongings to Ethereum chain or to external exchanges working on Ethereum or any other layer two solution.

Now we have two developers working very close with OmiseGO team on Plasma MoreVP. We plan to build bigger team which will work also on game item exchange module on the top of plasma MoreVP.

Q: Congratulations for ‘My Memory of Us’ the game looks solid. I noticed the game will be available on steam, will the game utilize both the Hoard & steam wallet or simply just Hoards one? Kinda confused about that one.

Malf: Thanks! :) For now we are planning to use Hoard wallet only. Hoard wallet stores NFTs, supports Plasma, whole profile transfer and we will be constantly updating its features.

Q: Have you had any game developers or publishers approach you guys yet?

Malf: Yes, we are tightly cooperating with Juggler Games and another small indie at the moment. We are also in talks with 4 other game development studios. Additionally — several smaller indie devs expressed their interest, so it’s getting better and better :)

Q: Why would game developers want users to have “true” ownership over digital assets.Xbox one on launch had restrictions on used games because game developers make no money of the second hand game market.Game developers see this as a loss of revenue and generally look down on the second hand game marketWhat’s your feed back from game developers in general? Do you see this as a up hill battle and once enough games start using it the rest will follow or are game developers now more accepting to the second hand market and the re-selling of digital assets

Malf: First of all — most of the game developers does not even care about blockchain yet. The first answer is “Crypto is kinda scam or Ponzi scheme”. After several minutes of introduction into blockchain possibilities they are switching into “Wow! That makes sense! When can I start using this?” :) They are interested in monetization of secondary markets as they may implement fees on trades or rental of items that gaining the value with usage of blockchain-stored history.

They are interested in interoperability between their games and cross-referencing between their games or even between different studios. And they are obviously interested in fresh design and features ideas. So, we are constantly working on blockchain-augmented game designs to evangelize them about blockchain in computer games and how Hoard can help. …and it’s going better and better I’d say :)

Regarding platform owners — well, I would answer: as long as they will be treated respectfully and their business may grow on this — there shouldn’t be a problem. But of course it’s something totally new and needs a lot of work.

Q: Cheaters ruin a lot of modern multiplayer games , games on the blockchain will be cheater free , or is it more of an exchange layer plugged into the backend of the games for transactions?

Cyryl: I don’t suppose they will ever be cheater free :) A good cheater might try to hack server to obtain its private key or try to cheat to the server because of the faulty protocol (like our colleagues have done with PlasmaDog recently ;) and obtain some tokens without actually playing.

Blockchain is certainly a next step towards secure and trustworthy ownership. At least players won’t lose their tokens (as long as their private keys are safe that is) which is a huge step forward. In the case of Plasma, players always have a possibility to exit to the main Ethereum chain with their belongings even if Plasma operator is compromised. Of course we need to provide a good UX for this scenario. Some of that is scheduled to be shown in the next PlasmaDog update.

Hoard team is well aware of cheating in games. We were involved in implementing anticheat features for games like Dark Souls, Tales of Zestiria or Split Second and cheaters always found ways of ruining the efforts (sometimes because of the technology, sometimes because of faulty protocol, usually because they have access to the executable). There is an idea to move whole logic to blockchain but we would need to wait for that to happen a long time. There might be different options though like hardware enclaves which in conjunction with blockchain should elevate security to another level. But this is a completely different topic we are also investigating at Hoard.

Q: What do you think of a project like Enjin who seem to be a direct competitor?

Malf: We respect them. There are several similarities between our projects, but of course we have our own ideas of how some things could be done and we are proceeding with implementations. From the general perspective — the more companies bringing insight and interesting games/features/ideas/items into space — the better. We all gonna meet in Metaverse :)

Chris: We’ve taken a different approach from Enjin in terms of scalability. We partnered with OmiseGO to leverage Plasma, and Enjin has made the decision to develop their own sidechain. Hoard’s mission is to optimize for True Ownership, and we believe Ethereum and Plasma provide the highest level of security for users to maintain that.

That said, the Enjin guys are great. I’ve chatted with them before. We basically align on the vision of making blockchain games a reality. We believe their ERC1155 proposal is a reasonable design. We try to stay pretty solution agnostic once True Ownership is achieved, and so we are creating plasma solutions for all the NFT standards, including 1155, 721, 721x, and 998.

Q: Could games simply patch to implement some benefits of using Hoard, like carrying over storyline choices of one game into a sequel, or carrying over some equipment gotten in the sequel to the prequel?

Chris: Yes they could. And you just touched on one of my favorite use cases for blockchain in games: extensibility across sequels/prequels! Just like you described, players could absolutely carry items from one title to the next.

I think it would be especially cool if games designed Easter Eggs in the early franchise installments that can only be unlocked with a token from its sequel. Designs like that will breathe new life into “old” titles. Each time a new game is released players could return to the original title with keys they acquired in the newest installment to unlock secret features or gameplay.

I think the whole concept of sequel interoperability will probably be the gateway to the metaverse. Studios will get a taste of how linking games together will drive major network effects, and they’ll begin to experiment with connecting titles not in the same franchise. Probably with partner studios at first, but then more decentralized coordination systems will emerge on their own for studios to opt-in to ad hoc collaborations. When this happens the mythology of games will begin to exist separate from any individual game. And we will begin to experience unprecedented compounding effects of mass storytelling.

Q: Which and how many games you have already developed…?

Malf: We, as a team were involved in many different porting projects — moving games from one platform to another (for example PC to Playstation). We were working on most of known game engines, graphics, audio and networking systems used in game development studios, optimizing performance, adding platform specific features, frequently designing new gameplay modes and UX solutions. We developed the last version of Super Street Fighter IV: Ultra — you may still play this version on Taito machines in Japan :) Or if you are more into the Dark Souls flavor — you may check Dark Souls: Remastered — we were responsible for this version as well :)

…and the (almost) full list of titles below:

  • Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (PC/PS4/Xbox One to Switch)
  • Dark Souls: Remastered (Xbox One/PS4/PC)
  • Injustice 2 (Xbox One/PS4 to PC)
  • Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (PC to Xbox One/PS4)
  • Get Even (PC to Xbox One)
  • RIME (PS4 to Xbox One/PC)
  • WWE 2K17 (PS4 to PC)
  • Mortal Kombat XL (PC)
  • Dead Rising 1 (X360 to PC)
  • God Eater 1 & 2 (PS4 to PC)
  • WWE 2K16 (PS4 to PC)
  • Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (X360 to PC)
  • Tales of Zestiria (PS3 to PS4/PC)
  • Mortal Kombat X (PC)
  • WWE 2K15 (PS4 to PC)
  • DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition (PS3/PC to Xbox One/PS4)
  • Resident Evil 4 HD Edition (X360 to PC)
  • Dustforce (PC to PS3, PS Vita & X360)
  • Ultra Street Fighter IV (X360, PS3, PC, TypeX — development)
  • Remember Me (X360 to PC)
  • Resident Evil 6 (PC)
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Enhanced Edition (X360 to PC)
  • DMC: Devil May Cry (X360 to PC)
  • Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (X360 to PC)
  • Street Fighter X Tekken (X360 to PC)
  • Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS2 to X360)
  • Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (X360 to PC)
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC to X360, development)
  • Split/Second (X360 to PC)
  • Hannah Montana (Wii to PC)
  • ATV Pure (X360 to PC)
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