Crypko is truly unlike any blockchain game in the current market! They have combined their main research in Artificial Intelligence and intertwined it with the features of blockchain tech to create something that could come out of a Scf-Fi film. With this interview we were able to get deeper insight into what this all entailed and the workings of their game.
1) Please tell us about your background, your teams and how you all got together?
AI, or Artificial Intelligence, has given rise to AlphaGo and self-driving cars. What about anime? Combining our fandom in anime and research interests in deep learning, an increasingly important field of AI, we, as a small group of students, applying AI to Japanese Anime.
We know each other since most of us are attending or have graduated from the same university, and we all want to make it easier for the public to create anime using the emerging AI technologies.
Crypko is not the first project from our team — before that we made a site MakeGirlsMoe ( https://make.girls.moe ) in which you can specify attributes you like and the neural network can then generate anime faces following your specification on your browser. It attracted over 1 million visits from all over the world in 10 days since release. Its success and issues, however, are the reason we started the new project Crypko.
2) Can you give us details about your game Crypko and what has been the inspiration behind your game?
Although MakeGirlsMoe was a big hit, we still observe some issues with it. GAN (generative adversarial network) is very powerful such that it could generate an infinite number of images, which in turn raises some issues such as that the value of images it generates would be largely diluted if the number of generated images are potentially infinite. Therefore, we forbid any commercial use of images from MakeGirlsMoe without contacting us and only keep it open to non-commercial usage.
We have been approached by several commercial game developers who would like to purchase the ownership of a few images from MakeGirlsMoe. However, we found it hard to properly price images — unified price per image does not seem to be a good idea since every image has a different value while good-looking images should have a higher price — a hard-to-realize pricing mechanism. Besides pricing, another issue is the difficulty to verify the authorization of commercial usage. “who owns the copyright of products from AI” remains an open question, and is now under discussion since AI has reached a stage where it could generate high-quality art which is not feasible in the past.
3) What is GAN and how will this change the valuation system of current cryptocollectibles?
GAN, or generative adversarial network, is a kind of neural network that generates characters (character images in our case) through the use of AI. It could generate an infinite number of different characters, even beyond the imagination of us who created this neural network. Crypko is different than almost all existing cryptocollectible games where product are produced using a paper doll mechanism where characters are composed of limited components using finite, predictable and hand-crafted rules.
As mentioned in previous answers, we believe everyone has his/her valuation system and shall not be forced to following the values set by game developers/staffs, which are at best tedious and at worst getting non-sense (product with special ID is “rare”? No, no, no.) We expect that the value system is compatible with each user’s taste and everyone shall be able to own his/her favorite characters.
Furthermore, from a user’s point of view, fusing new characters is with intrinsic randomness, which means, regular characters also have a chance to lead to beautiful derivatives, and the beautiful one can also lead to regular ones (of course, beautiful ones have a higher chance of leading to beautiful derivatives). This mechanism is designed to prevent a monopoly of beautiful ones such that other users could not afford fusion. Actually, during the beta test, we found that after hundreds of iteration of fusion, some crypkos, through users’ proposed selection and involvement, can produce derivatives with high chance. We feel this is a good example of giving users the valuation system, since it’s almost impossible to predict value due to deep learning black-box and without involving users. This mechanism also can largely prevent automatic arbitrage.
4) How has the journey been like adapting blockchain to your Ai reserach? Would you say you have encountered the same barriers as many other blockchain game devs?
We believe that AI can create and assist in the creation of things with value. ERC271, or similar authentication of ownership, provides a new way to proper commercialization, and thus encourages researchers make better AI, which itself produces better product. We believe this is a virtuous circle.
5) What makes Crypko different than all the other current blockchain games?
Since its debut, ERC721 has been serving as a mechanism to enable transactions of non fungible tokens between users, which is the important and sometimes the sole cornerstone for multiple current blockchain games.
However, we believe ERC721 has much more potential to offer. Different from existing games, the keynote of our project is that the value of AI created products, as users perceive, can and should be realized by the open and transparent authorization provided by ERC721.
Based on this belief, we do not impose any valuation for Crypko from our side to our users. Instead, we believe that our users have their own value standards to determine the value of each Crypko. This that all Crypkos are born equal, and users’ value standard determines the value of Crypkos.
6) Do you think there will be continuous advancements such as yours in blockchain games?
We believe that Crypko is much more than a collectible game — it is a solution we want to present the world how to deal with the authentication for AI-generated products.
We started our test in a Test Net instead of rushing to Main Net, to let more people know our motivation. Of course, we are aware that some copy-cat of our idea may appear soon, and we are not worried about that since we know the price is from the model itself, whose quality is associated with the deep learning technique used. Tokens without good model associated do not have value, and we are very confident that our model produces high quality image, which is hard to copy-cat in a relatively short period.
7) In your opinion could game developers take more risks with blockchain tech or are they limited?
Blockchain + Game is a good idea, but we hope that developers and users, in the face of a new idea or new product, shall assess the necessity of blockchain that shows the essential value besides speculation. There are too many examples of “bad money drives out good” and things do have to be like that.
8) Is there any advice you can offer new game devs wanting to come into blockchain space?
We are also new game devs :-D. It is important to keep learning, not only for game developing into blockchain space but generally for life endeavors.
9) Were you planning to hold an ICO or presale of your collectibles?
No, we don’t see the need of ICO.
Pre-sale enforces developer’s valuation onto users, which is not what we want. It also increases speculation and leaves fewer opportunities for users who like Crypkos, which is again not what we want.
10) What new features are you planning and we should expect to see soon?
We would like to build a community where users can interact with each other with the assistance from AI. For example, in our case, AI assists in the creation of a character, and users can name it, make bio or even story for it, thus giving life to it. Furthermore, we leave the copyright to owners so they can do whatever they want, such as making commercial games, incorporating in their novel writing, etc. These are previous hard for an ordinary user to achieve these, but we hope we can lower the barrier. We also hope we can help users promoting their characters offline such as making related derivatives, just in the way believe what “ownership” should entail.
Although we are currently a team of students and developed Crypko in our spare time, the passion from our users is now motivating us to push Crypko to a next level in the long run. Inspired by KittyHats and KittyRace, after the release in main Ethereum network, our next plan is to create (or build an ecosystem of) derivative games where user can play games (on Ethereum or its side chains) with the Crypkos they own.
11) Is your research and developments into blockchain technology something you see that will be applied to all future blockchain games developers?
Maybe or maybe not. This is a thrilling field where anything can happen, so instead of making prediction we provides practices that we hope can help future developers and users.
We thank the team from Crypko very much for taking the time out of their busy schedules to talk with us for this exclusive interview!
Check out their website: https://crypko.ai/#/
Join their Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/TYvUF3Z
Follow them on their Twitter: https://twitter.com/Crypko