A Quick Dive into the Gaming Ecosystem of Starknet

By paragism | paragism | 23 Jul 2023

Blockchain gaming is the most popular craze within the crypto space. It is attractive for users as it offers new opportunities that traditional gaming does not. Playing games on the Ethereum network is not viable due to high gas fees. This is the reason; L2 networks have become the favourite platforms for gaming DAPPs. These networks can keep up with user demand while accommodating various transaction requests. They also help the games to scale while leveraging the strength of Ethereum’s security. The high throughput and low transaction fee of Starknet make it ideal for many use cases and gaming is one of them.

But why is Starknet for gaming when other L2s are available? State Channel (Ex- Celer Network) allows two or more parties to conduct multiple transactions off-chain, without the need for each transaction to be broadcast to the entire network but the adoption curve is very poor. Plasma (Ex – Polygon) allows specific assets to be transferred between the Ethereum mainnet and the sidechin but such a sidechain is not secured by the mainchain. Optimistic Rollups (Ex - Arbitrum and Optimism) are adaptive but the withdrawal of funds takes up to 7 days. zkRollups (Ex - zkSync) generalizes computation with zero-knowledge and provides instant withdrawal while being quite fast and secure but the use case is limited to DEXs.

Starknet powered by Validium technology is more promising as it is a hybrid of State Channel, Plasma & zkRollup. It is fast, secure and provides a better user experience. The usage of ‘zero-knowledge’ eliminates the chances of cheating by bad actors and makes the protocol highly decentralized. It is also engineered for scalability, ensuring that it can accommodate exponential growth without sacrificing security and decentralization. STARKS rely on minimal, time-tested cryptographic assumptions, provides quantum security and eliminates the need for a trusted setup. The potential of trustless Web3 gaming can be captured with ease on Starknet. 

Cairo, the programming language for blockchain developers to build applications on the StarkNet, is the first Turing-complete language for creating provable programs for general computation. It is optimal for harnessing the benefits of algebraic proof systems and ensuring efficient computation and verification processes. The best thing about Starknet is that it is designed to be future-proof. This Starknet roadmap of 2023 describes how the upcoming Starknet v0.12.0 will incorporate significant improvements in throughput and latency and in v0.13.0, the transaction costs will be reduced dramatically. All these will be beneficial for gaming DAPPs. 

Ethereum’s EIP-4844 (Shard Blob Transaction) is expected in Q4 of 2023. Starknet will get tremendous benefits from it as soon as possible, in addition to the introduction of Volition (off-chain data availability). There will be a dramatic reduction in the cost of data. Volition will allow developers to build Starknet applications with a hybrid Data Availability (DA) mode: both on-chain and off-chain data. In Starknet v0.15.0, proof will attest to the integrity of one or more Starknet blocks. This will fix the block interval, and improve Starknet’s UX. Gaming is a computation-heavy exercise and the users expect a good experience. The Web2 gaming DAPPs just need to get their blockchain moments to be onboarded into Web3 and only Starknet can help them to shine. 

Let’s talk more about Starknet’s UX. Starknet allows users to pre-approve a DAPP’s transactions based on parameters like duration, maximum amount of gas, maximum transaction volume of a certain token, or a particular function on a particular contract. Generally, the on-chain games require users to sign multiple transactions to interact with different smart contracts and this hampers the game experience. With wallet like Argent or Braavos, you can generate a session key that is held in the browser’s local storage and it authorizes the DAPP to sign transactions for a limited time. This improves the gaming experience astonishingly. There is no wonder that the gaming ecosystem is finding great traction on Starknet. Let’s explore the prominent gaming DAPPs on Starknet. 

GoL2: Game of Life of GoL2 is an experiment in L2 gaming. The project was founded in February 2022 and it became live on Starknet mainnet in September 2022. The game is a reworking of the classic Game of Life by John Conway. The main rules of the game are: the normal rules of Conways’ Game of Life (3 to revive, 2 or 3 to stay alive) and the boundaries wrap — a glider may travel infinitely within the confines of the grid. Two game modes are there in GoL2 — Infinite and Creator modes. GoL2 is a play-to-earn game where you earn $GOL while you play the game.


The Ninth: The Ninth is an upcoming player-made and revolutionary real-time evolving game powered by Starknet. It is a fully on-chain metaverse and the team is focusing on building PVP arena games for players to compete using NFT equipment that they forge from staking. Nine arena games will be there and the players will be able to buy lands. Players can run private or open games there and act as hosts while socializing with their peers.


Realms: Realms is an upcoming massively multiplayer on-chain game of Economics and Chivalry from Bibliotheca DAO. The game was born out of the Loot phenomenon and can flawlessly incorporate all Loot assets. There are multiple games in the Realms universe and those are connected by a shared economy, resources, and game assets. ‘Realms: Eternum’ will be the first title launched in Realms Autonomous World. You can own zero-knowledge-proofed land in the game and be rewarded in $LORDS, the token of the Realmverse.


Briq: Briq is an NFT building protocol and it is live on Starknet mainnet. Briqs are basically building blocks and you can assemble them to create an NFT and disassemble them to get your briqs back. The created NFTs are called sets. You can transfer, lend or break them to have fun. Sets are interoperable NFTs, so they can be integrated with any metaverse. Briq 2.0.5 has been launched recently and you can import any image and turn it into briq set.


Influence: Influence is a grand space strategy MMO with a player-owned open economy. You can acquire and colonize your own asteroid in this Starknet-powered game. It serves as your home base. The mining resources give you access to build manufacturing plants, ships, launch systems and many more. If you do not want to buy an asteroid, you can lease land from an owner and play. Your owned land and the resources are NFTs here and easily transferable. You can also discover new technologies and engage in combat.


Age of Eykar: Age of Eyker is a decentralized strategy game and it is live on Starknet mainnet. Eykar is a fantasy universe. An open-source smart contract dictates the rules of this world - how fast time passes, how you can move, how you can form an army, and so on. To register your address in the game, you need to buy your first land and choose your fraction. After that, you can start recruiting people and conquering territories. Other kingdoms either become your allies or enemies.


Dope Wars: Dope Wars is a fully decentralized, community-driven, gaming metaverse project inspired by hip-hop culture. The team is bootstrapping a modern-day GTA-inspired metaverse and series of games built by their decentralized game studio. The game is inspired by the Drugwars game which is considered a classic. It is based on the DOPE NFT and $PAPER, the ecosystem currency. The open environment of Dope Wars allows developers and contributors to produce their own limitless games for the Dope Wars NFT holders. To get in the game, you need a Hustler. Hustlers are configurable NFT characters that can equip and unequip NFT Gear. All NFTs are tradeable in the market.


The web3 gaming landscape on Starknet is worth exploring. The network has made significant strides to attract game developers and gamers. The growth of the gaming ecosystem is a positive sign for Starknet but the next challenge will be to match up the web2 experience. Keep track of the mentioned games and look out for more exciting gaming projects on Starknet.

Follow Starknet Twitter. If you are a developer and want to develop gaming DAPP on Starknet, join their Discord. My preferred Starknet wallet is Braavos.  This article was first published here.

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Cypherpunk. Writing content which I love. Creeping on the blockchain. Twitter - @paragism_


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