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How You Can Design the Ultimate Sandbox Game with Immutable zkEVM

Design the ultimate sandbox game with Immutable zkEVM
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Immutable zkEVM unlocks customized smart contracts for web3 game development. How does this enhance game development? Join us in the second installment in our series about the revolutionary technology set to change the face of game development as we know it.

Building the perfectly immersive sandbox game is considered by many to be the holy grail in gaming.

In contrast to linear, theme park ride-style experiences such as Uncharted or God of War – masterpieces in their own right – sandbox games are about freedom and creativity. These games provide players with a degree of complex interaction impossible elsewhere in the gaming world. Games like GTA V Online, Minecraft and Roblox define this genre with their open worlds, emergent gameplay, and player-driven economies. 

The popularity of these games is staggering. Ten years after its release, GTA V Online still boasts a daily player count of 1.3 million. Minecraft has amassed over 238 million copies sold worldwide since 2011, with 141 million active players as of 2021​​. Roblox also has seen explosive growth, with their user base increasing from 35 to 150 million in just three years and over 56 million people accessing it daily by the end of 2022​​.

Now, web3 gaming can take sandbox games to the next level. Every in-game item, character, and land plot can become a unique, tradeable asset owned by the player and secured by blockchain technology. This unlocks brand-new ways for game developers to design sandbox games.

Read: Why Immutable zkEVM is the Next Frontier in Web3 Game Development

A key feature necessary for this to work is smart contract functionality. With Immutable zkEVM, you can build sandbox games on a scaling solution specifically designed for gaming that fully supports smart contracts, enabling mechanics necessary to create the ultimate sandbox game experience. 

So, how do smart contracts enhance sandbox game development?

Moving from trusted to trustless gameplay mechanics

A core benefit of Immutable zkEVM for web3 game development is defined by moving from trusted towards trustless game mechanics. 

Read: The Difference Between Web2 and Web3 Gaming Explained

Compared to web2 gaming, where everything happens on a centralized server, Immutable X has emerged as a leading solution towards more trustless gameplay mechanics. With crafting for example, core mechanics like burning can happen on-chain, while other game mechanics occur on off-chain game servers. 

This powers popular games built on Immutable X like Gods Unchained and Cross the Ages. Game developers get all the core benefits of web3 gaming, while retaining the freedom to run game mechanics on their own server.

Moving from trusted to trustless gameplay with Immutable zkEVM

Immutable's zkEVM moves even further towards trustless gameplay with smart contract functionality. Smart contracts enable fully atomic transactions, resulting in a trustless gaming ecosystem, providing security and transparency for both developers and players. 

Sophisticated in-game mechanics like crafting, forging, and evolving game items and characters can all happen verifiably on-chain and secure through smart contracts. English and Dutch auctions, staking, tokenswaps, renting or lending also become possible in games built on Immutable zkEVM.

For game studios, integrating more trustless game mechanics means giving more ownership to their players and the community. But this is received back tenfold in player engagement, passion, and loyalty. When more game mechanics are securely and transparently backed by the blockchain, this deepens the relationship between game developers and gamers.

Allows digital assets to securely interact with each other on-chain at low cost

In early on-chain games like our own Etherbots, each move cost players hundreds of dollars in gas fees,  because they were processed  directly on Ethereum Mainnet. Building web3 games with smart contracts on a scaling solution like Immutable zkEVM allows programmable digital assets, such as characters and equipment, to  interact with each other directly on the blockchain at low cost. 

This interaction opens up possibilities for complex setups at the scale required for sandbox games, such as equipping items onto characters or having numerous assets interact with each other in a game economy. 

Read more in our CTO’s technical deep dive about Immutable zkEVM

By leveraging smart contracts, game developers can create dynamic player experiences where digital assets can interact and affect each other's behavior, safely and securely. The introduction of web3 components in a game actually reduces the potential risks associated with bugs and item exploits plaguing many game economies. This is because the blockchain acts as the final arbiter on what exists or doesn't exist, and who owns what in the game. 

Digital asset utility can live on-chain, forever

Unlike traditional in-game items, which could lose their functionality if the game server shuts down, the utility of digital assets exists on the blockchain and can continue to function indefinitely. 

This unlocks a new concept we like to call ‘forever utility’ of digital assets. With Immutable zkEVM, more game item utility than ever before becomes forever utility.

Immutable zkEVM enables more forever utility of digital assets

The 'forever utility' concept can make sandbox games even more engaging and dynamic. Game developers can create worlds where every in-game asset, from characters to items to plots of land, is a unique, tradeable entity with enduring value. This value can reach across games building in the same ecosystem, enabling complex interactions between game communities, leading to player-driven, emergent, interconnected gaming ecosystems that withstand the test of time.

Seamless end-to-end experience on Immutable

Game developers not only need a robust chain for scalable web3 sandbox games, but also tooling to ensure a smooth end-to-end player experience. The Immutable Platform provides a comprehensive suite of tools for creating mainstream-ready web3 games, ensuring both player and developer experiences are consistently excellent. 

Immutable zkEVM is part of the Immutable Platform

Key to this is Immutable Passport, the instant onboarding wallet for web3 games offering a familiar and user-friendly transaction experience similar to web2 single sign-on (SSO)  and purchasing with Google or Apple. Unlike other  wallet solutions, Passport can be used across different games and marketplaces, reducing friction and improving overall user experience. 

Moreover, Immutable Checkout has been designed to facilitate a smoother purchase flow across all web3 wallets, reducing the frequency of scams and hacks with advanced safety features.

In addition to the user-facing tools, Immutable’s platform also contains a powerful suite of development tools such as gaming SDKs, APIs, the Orderbook and Marketplace Network, and game economy tools.

All of this reduces the investment required by game developers to create and maintain similar tools, allowing them to focus on delivering the best gaming experiences. 

Are you ready to build the ultimate sandbox game with Immutable zkEVM? 

Check out our Product page and sign up for Devhub

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