Over the coming weeks we will be looking at and speaking to a number of Cardano NFT projects that have gone into blockchain game development.
We start with a project that has a working game up and running, playable in the browser or on mobile via Google Play or the iOS app store.
We asked Crypto Raggies a few questions about their game, how it works, what makes it a blockchain game and what they think the future holds.
We hope you find it as interesting as we did.
So tell us about the game, Raggie Run. How can users play and how does it work?
The game RaggieRun is an infinite runner game in which players play as a ragdoll cat (an actual breed of cats if you’re not familiar with cats!) running inside a strange world trying to find and collect its lost toys. We designed the game to be casual yet challenging and we have incorporated multiple mechanics within the game to make it more interesting and varied. There are two power bars which, when filled, will allow players to use superpowers and summoning powers to help clear obstacles and achieve higher scores. This introduces a resource management element to the game. On top of that, we have also created 2 boss fights within the game itself, one of which featuring PRED from our partner project Derp Birds!
Since our launch about a year ago, our players have given us excellent feedback about the game. While many think of an infinite runner to be repetitive, boring and lack challenge, most who have played RaggieRun will say this is anything but! Players can start playing within the browser or if they’re on mobile, the game is also live on Google Play and iOS App Store. Simply enter the game, connect a wallet (or not – wallet-free public access mode is available on mobile) and they can start playing right away!
Do you need to be a Raggie NFT holder to take part in the game?
Absolutely not! The game is free to play and anyone can play the game and experience all the features without holding any of our NFTs. When a player logs in to the game and connects a wallet, the game will read the wallet contents and, if Raggies are found, they will load up in the game for the player to choose. So if the player holds Raggies, they can choose to play the game using their own Raggies. Every Raggie NFT is unique and comes with a set of traits, reflected both in the artwork and in the metadata. Some of these traits, in particular the rare traits such as laser eyes, gold chain, and lilac coat colour etc come with superpowers which can be used in the game.
This means that if a player owns a Raggie NFT with these traits, they can access these superpowers giving them a richer gameplay experience and potential to achieve higher scores in their runs!
Playing without our NFTs is also an option. If the wallet that is connected to the game does not have any Raggies, the game will automatically load 5 random Raggies that have been staked within our protocol by other Raggie NFT holders. The player can then “rent” a Raggie from our stakers to play the game. They get to access the trait benefits of the “rented” Raggie for the entire duration of the game as if they owned the Raggie. The only cost involved in this is that the player will forgo 5% of their in-game score which will be credited under the staker’s account. The protocol also generates a 10-point bonus for the staker for every game played using their staked Raggies, so stakers always gain some points per game played by Free-to-Play players regardless of performance.
Besides that, players who are not into crypto or Cardano at all can also play the game on mobile using the Public Access (wallet-free) option! When playing with this option, it will be impossible for us to reward the player because there is no wallet address to credit rewards to. These players will also be presented 5 random Raggies from our stakers to choose from, and instead of forgoing 5% of their in-game score, 50% of the scores from these players will go to the stakers. The other 50% is simply “burnt”. This game mode was created to allow easy onboarding of non-crypto users into the web3 blockchain gaming ecosystem, letting them experience NFT gaming with zero barriers, and decide later whether they want to join the ecosystem to reap the benefits, while at the same time creating value for our NFT holders through the staking protocol.
Are there any benefits to NFT holders brought about by the game?
Yes! What we have built here is a full working ecosystem with an elaborate, sustainable circular token economy. Our project has a range of blockchain assets under the CryptoRaggies brand. Raggies are our core NFT collection, but on top of that we also have our own native token RaggieCoins ($RAG).
We are one of the first NFT gaming projects on Cardano to have launched a non-custodial staking platform, allowing our NFT holders to stake their NFTs to earn $RAG while still keeping them in their wallets available for them to play with even while staked. As explained under the previous question, our staking protocol powers our RaggieRun Free-to-Play system. This is what we mean by “staking with a purpose” – our NFT stakers are not just staking for the sake of it, but by staking they are actually taking part in the ecosystem and helping us make a key feature of our game possible. So the benefit really goes both ways – the game benefits from our NFT holders as much as our NFT holders benefit from the game!
Specifically how do our NFT holders benefit from the game? Well, firstly they get permanent, guaranteed access to the superpowers associated with the traits of the Raggies which they own. Secondly, they get $RAG reward when they stake their Raggies to help us power our Free-to-Play game mode. Thirdly, they get additional in-game score (XP) bonus when their staked Raggies get picked by Free-to-Play players. Lastly, most of our leaderboard competitions are only open to Raggie NFT holders so if they achieve a high score that lands them on our weekly leaderboards, they get to earn additional $RAG and sometimes also ADA and NFT rewards too!
Raggie Run is a Play 2 Earn game, where players can earn $RAG. How does this work, what can $RAG be used for now or further down the line?
Players who play RaggieRun get their in-game points credited against their wallet address as XP, which is an off chain representation of value. They can easily convert this XP into on-chain $RAG by visiting our website, connecting their wallet, and using the XP conversion UI under Member Zone -> Manage Account. Both XP and $RAG are useful in their own ways. We have built our own Discord bot which manages roles, asset verification and a range of other features including tipping. There are tip bots available which allow tipping of tokens but these usually require the user to send assets to a custodial wallet first, which we believe is not an ideal strategy. We have therefore implemented XP tipping on Discord via our bot, to allow for $RAG-equivalent microtransactions using an off-chain surrogate (XP) without requiring users to lose control of their on-chain assets to a custodial wallet, and also without having to incur a minimum ADA fee which often cost way more than the native token microtransaction itself is worth. The recipient of the XP tips can then easily convert the XP into $RAG whenever they please using our conversion system.
Furthermore, the XP that is earned from RaggieRun or obtained on Discord by receiving tips from other users can be used in the future to level up Raggies. Yes – Raggies can be levelled up although this has not been implemented yet!
As for $RAG, it is a Cardano native token that lives on the blockchain. We have built one of the first multi-signature asset storefronts on Cardano – RaggieStore, allowing users to mint RaggieRun in-game items using $RAG. These items include a weapon and shield which can be used during RaggieRun boss fights, and also superpower add-ons which can be used for 24 hours from the time of minting. These add-ons can be burnt in our RaggieShrine when they have expired, and burnt tokens double as raffle tickets too for users to win even more exclusive items and more powerful add-ons!
Utility for $RAG does not end here. All transactions in RaggieStore and RaggieShrine require a small ADA dust fee. Instead of taking this ADA dust fee as profit, we collect them and reinvest them to build further value for the $RAG token and our main collection Raggie NFTs by buying floor Raggies on the secondary market and relisting them at our very own Raggie Rehoming Centre for our community to “rehome” using $RAG. Because $RAG is a listed token on CoinGecko, we are able to use the CoinGecko API, combined with opencnft API to list our Raggies in the Rehoming Centre for a $RAG price that is always a little under the prevailing floor price, making it always the cheapest way to acquire Raggies. This effectively helps create utility and value for $RAG, while applying a constant demand on the market for Raggie NFTs, helping to lift the floor price. These are some of the core features of our circular economy and are important aspects of what makes our project and our tokenomics sustainable.
As for further down the line, $RAG already has a live liquidity pool on Minswap with a TVL over 130k ADA, and a major announcement regarding this pool will be coming very soon! Holders of $RAG with an interest in DeFi will be very pleased when the announcement goes live! Within our ecosystem we also have many other utilities planned for $RAG, including using it to mint Raggies in the future, using it in our breeding platform, and also to unlock features within our very own ecosystem light wallet (yes, we even built our own wallet!) RaggiePurrse!
What makes Raggie Run a blockchain game as opposed to a standard mobile game?
For us, we developed RaggieRun as a blockchain game and this can be seen and experienced right when a user logs in to the game. RaggieRun launched way back in October 2021 – when the only wallet on Cardano with a dApp connector was Nami. While a very basic version of RaggieRun was already playable, we chose not to launch it until we managed to get the wallet connection up and running, because we believe that this is the key ingredient that makes it a blockchain game and not just another game.
We are not the first game on Cardano, but we are certainly the first game which launched with a working wallet connection (the first version of RaggieRun only supported Nami wallet) which means we can leverage on the blockchain to verify that a player actually owns the assets they plan to play with. This also means that we do not have to rely on other web2 connection options such as Discord, Google etc, for players to log in to our game – anyone with a wallet can log in and play, and players prove their asset ownership using their wallets.
Rewards are also credited against web3 identities using wallet addresses. This is the key difference, we think, between a blockchain game and just another game. A key requirement we have set on our part is that every game we publish must have a working mechanism for proof of asset ownership. While this is generally not an issue when building a game for browsers because we can simply interact with the dApp connectors of existing wallets, this becomes a major problem when the game is published on mobile platforms as native apps, as native apps and browser extensions cannot directly communicate.
It is this problem that drove us to develop our own ecosystem light wallet – RaggiePurrse – which is a cross platform Cardano wallet that can communicate with mobile native apps unlike any other wallet currently in existence. This allows our players on any platform to be able to log in to RaggieRun using their web3 identity through RaggiePurrse, and play and earn on the go. The wallet connection through RaggiePurrse works throughout our whole ecosystem as well – so they can mint add-ons, burn expired tokens, convert XP to $RAG, and harvest their $RAG staking rewards using RaggiePurrse connection while on mobile wherever they are! We think that this is an elegant solution and one that truly makes our game and ecosystem a fully fledged blockchain ecosystem, and not just another website, or just another game.
What does the future hold for your project/game? And, more broadly, what do you think the future holds for blockchain gaming?
When we announced our project, the plan was to build a very rich and interactive ecosystem with 3 casual games under the brand.
RaggieRun is just the first one which we have developed. We have already started working on the second game and this game will incorporate a lot of feedback we have received from our community regarding the direction of development, and also heavily directed by the lessons we have learnt so far about the blockchain gaming space. There is a lot planned in store for the project as a whole. In more recent news, we are now incorporated and we will be working on CryptoRaggies as a brand identity under our corporate entity Ragsters Productions. This allows us to also allocate time and resources more effectively in different activity streams as a project, as we now begin to also offer some of our tech as services to other projects.
In the future, we can expect to see the CryptoRaggies brand more prominently and ubiquitously throughout the Cardano ecosystem as we continue to build bridges with other projects and share our tech and services with our friends within the space. Currently we have already offered our multi-signature storefront service to several projects, and we will have more services up for offer in the near future. An important point to remember when researching and trying to understand our project is that we are a tech and utility-focused project at the core, and gaming is only one aspect of the many utilities we have built for our NFT and token holders. There is a lot more that has already been built – including our elaborate circular economy, and products and services such as RaggiePurrse and our multi-sig sale, minting, and auction tech that is being used by other projects on Cardano.
In terms of future for blockchain gaming, I know we have all heard this ad nauseam, but we are really just beginning. There is tonnes of potential in the blockchain gaming market. Blockchain technology brings about true digital asset ownership for gamers, and potential for them to be rewarded for the time and money they have invested into a game. We feel that we are currently undergoing a paradigm shift in focus from “play-to-earn” towards “play-and-earn”, which may sound trivial but actually highlights a very important change in the purpose of “play” – in the former model, it is expected that earning is the ultimate goal which is achieved through playing, while in the latter, “play” and “earn” can coexist alongside with equal importance. This movement spurs blockchain gaming projects to focus more heavily on building a fun game first – a game that is, at the bare minimum, fun to play, so that with or without the earning potential, players will still play it because they want to play it. Earning becomes a bonus along with the fun gaming experience.
We feel that this is the direction most blockchain games will have to take. We also think that there will be more projects that are more like us and less like AAA game studios. The mobile casual gaming market is massive, and although a typical NFT investor may look at a simple infinite runner like RaggieRun and brush it off because it pales in comparison to many other shiny AAA-quality competitors in development, what they don’t realise is that it is these simple casual games that take up the largest share of the mobile gaming market, and it is mobile gaming that takes up the majority share of the entire gaming market. Therefore we believe that when more projects start to build on Cardano, this market niche of simple casual games will become a hot space for development.