MatchboxDAO is a collective of developers, artists, and designers building the infrastructure of on-chain games with StarkNet.
This is the seventh article in MatchboxDAO’s series on “How to Make On-Chain Gaming Competitive”. A new article will be released every Tuesday fortnight and will cover different topics around how developers are shaping on-chain games to become more intuitive and entertaining for gamers. This can include new features, games, onboarding tools and just about anything that improves the on-chain experience in a gaming context.
It’s part of our ongoing efforts to reduce stigma around blockchain gaming and to show the benefits behind keeping these features on-chain in a trustless, accessible manner. We hope this series can drive adoption from new developers and gamers because the future of on-chain gaming will be collaborative. Join us each fortnight to learn where this space is heading and how we’re preserving integrity and most importantly, fun in gaming.
NFTs are a driving force that have onboarded more new users to cryptocurrency than any other craze. However, if we’re being totally honest, the on-chain process of minting hasn’t changed a whole lot since inception. Lots of innovation has taken place around the use of the token after it’s created, but minting it is still done the same way. You connect to a website, or directly to a contract and you mint the token for a certain cost. There are plenty of good reasons to find a more dynamic way.
In this article, we’ll look at Guilty Gyoza’s creation: new method to distribute NFTs. Using the Starknet L2’s increased compute capacity, he has made Solve-to-Mint; a function in which an NFT's supply and distribution are determined via the mechanics of a game or puzzle. We’ll take a look at the reasons for its multiple iterations, development, and the potential applications that can be built upon it. Let's dive into the details:
Solve to Mint is the creation of Topology.gg, a collective of developers experimenting with on-chain gaming physics. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the stuff that Matchbox and Topology have been building, there have been several iterations of the Solve to Mint mechanic. Progressively, they’ve increased in complexity and added loads of new elements with each advancement.
The fundamental idea is that it’s a system for a dynamic NFT supply, dependent on the outputs (or answers) of a puzzle. Puzzles can vary with the numbers of inputs and outputs that result in a successful mint. The first two forms were simpler but the most recent iteration, “MuMu”, takes the shape of a complex, experimental game. You can learn more in depth about the mechanics of MuMu via the prior link.
At its core, Solve2Mint is a form of NFT infrastructure. It enables NFT creators to implement mint functions in a multitude of new ways. Whether it be experiential or aesthetic, or functional as a way to permission/gate access to the mint. While helpful in this regard, it’s not simply limited as a new way to mint. After all, Matchbox DAO specializes in building gaming infrastructure.
As we’ve heard many times, NFTs have incredible utility as a gameplay mechanism for on-chain games. However, there is rarely a solid example of said change. The Solve to Mint protocol is one of the first substantial steps towards a smooth, interoperable process for integrating an NFT as a core part of a game’s mechanism.
There are immense ways that this function can be iterated on. If we consider the various achievement or recipe based elements in traditional gaming, we discover just how much utility Solve to Mint has. Players could record achievements, or solve puzzles entirely on chain using the Solve to Mint protocol.
The glaring factor here is that in current forms, most mint requirements and game mechanisms are handled off chain. As stated before, Starknet’s ability to handle heavier computational loads would enable these to be hosted on-chain. Solve to Mint acts as the glue holding the relationship of NFTs and game elements constant.
Another facet is that it gives developers the ability to add new dimension to the sinks and faucets included in their games. MuMu is essentially the creative manipulation of different assets to perform “recipes” that create or remove assets. This gives players a new set of incentives and strategies, deepening the experience.
The term gold sink comes to life as the elimination of the asset is inherently tied to the creation of a new one. Users will be able to perform literal on-chain alchemy, crafting and building. Infrastructural protocols like this are the next step in providing an immersive experience for gamers, and abstracting away the “crypto UI” elements that scare off so many new users.
Solve to Mint is a big step towards abstracting the “crypto” elements of on-chain games. The protocol can be used to make so many gaming processes seamless despite integrating directly on-chain and with wallet interfaces. When you combine account abstraction, even more possibilities await. Not only can they make these processes seamless, but they also contribute new features to the game’ design. Making on-chain game devs successful in the long run relies on advancements in user experience like this.
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