Now that the very first NEO Blockchain Game Competition is well under way, we will be taking an inside look at the dev teams in the midst of developing their projects. Jizai, a Shanghai-based gaming startup is confident their contribution, BLOCKLORDS has what it takes to raise eyebrows and push blockchain gaming forward.
BLOCKLORDS is a Grand Strategy game set in the medieval era. Inspired by more established Grand Strategy games such as Europa Universalis and the Total War series, the Jizai team thinks this genre is perfectly suited for blockchain technology and will play an important part in its future. They have assembled a strong team and are fully focused on their game. We invited the Jizai team for an interview to allow them to share their ideas and explain the context of their game.
The NEO Blockchain Game Competition starts registration
Tournament Committee: Hello Jizai, I have played the game Europa Universalis before and do you really feel that a blockchain game can reach this level of gameplay?
Jizai Team: Blockchain games are still a quite novel concept. The industry is young and technical advancements still need to be reached before we can match the level of AAA games. That said, the strategy genre is perfectly suited for the blockchain. It is a great mix of tactical decisions, building up knowledge, and farming different resources. These are concepts that are familiar in the blockchain world, so the two are a great match. Having developed several strategy games for web and mobile platforms, our team feels confident we can create a fun game with lots of strategic depth, while still keeping things simple enough to not be stopped by current technical limitations. This is just the first step in our long term blockchain game development plan. We plan to make many releases within this genre in the future.
Tournament Committee: Please introduce your team?
Jiza Team: Our team members are a very experienced bunch consisting of Chinese and international professionals who have worked at established Chinese companies such as Youzu, Forgame, Shanda, Moonton, R2, and many more. We have a well-rounded team consisting of programmers, artists, game designers, one music composer and a creative director. The team has worked together on projects before and is comfortable with delivering high quality on tight deadlines.
Tournament Committee: Why do you turn to the development of a blockchain game? Have you encountered any difficulties with this transition?
Jizai Team: Our Creative Director has been interested in blockchain development for quite some time now and started attending NEO meetups last year. Being quite immersed in the game industry, he wanted to explore blockchain game development early on but was a bit intimidated by how to structure smart contracts. When Cryptokitties came out, there was suddenly a great proof of concept of how blockchain games could be developed, especially with the creation of ERC-721 tokens. This led him down the path of ideas that eventually became BLOCKLORDS and most ideas were fleshed out during the spring. Jizai was already working on another project at that point but the team quickly became excited by the idea of making a blockchain game. When NEL announced the NEO game competition, the choice to join was an easy one since we already had a suitable idea ready. Several programmers have recently joined our team and though this is their first time writing smart contracts, they are up for the task and enjoying the challenge.
Tournament Committee: We would like to know more about “BLOCKLORDS.” Please tell us more about the gameplay
Jizai Team: When the player starts the game, he/she will be offered a choice between 3 heroes. Each hero will consists of various stats, items and a nationality that is randomized. Players can choose the hero they like best and begin the tutorial process. During the tutorial, players will learn how to battle enemies, conquer cities, and trade items. When players complete the tutorial, they will be asked if they want to save this hero. If they say yes, this unique and randomized hero will be committed to the blockchain and associated to their NEO wallet .
BLOCKLORDS Hero Creation UI Preview
Now the player will be free to do what they want in this game world. They can attack NPCs, travel to different cities, buy and sell items, attack players from other nations (war) or attack people from same nation (rebellion). BLOCKLORDS will also have an intricate system of governance, with every city having a lord, and every nation having a king. Lords and Kings will collect taxes from their citizens for every trade made in the markets. In later version, we also plan to give kings control over their national economies and diplomatic efforts.
BLOCKLORDS Map Concept Design
Tournament Committee: How will blockchain technology will be applied in your game?
Jizai Team: The game will be blockchain integrated in many ways. All heroes will be uniquely stored on the blockchain with their stats. All items in game that heroes are equipped with will also be unique digital assets. All battles will be stored on the blockchain as well, giving people the possibility to track every battle, hero and item history on the chain. We believe this will add a historic aspect to the game, with items or heroes gaining or losing value based on previous famous battles. Of course, all trading within the game will also be blockchain transactions. We believe we are pushing the standard of what smart contracts can do while still keeping things realistic enough to be made with currently available resources.
Tournament Committee: Do you think the war strategy players will have a strong interest in playing a blockchain game?
Jizai Team: Strategy gamers are a loyal and committed group who love historic accuracy and tough decisions. Our team has had good success reaching those gamers before and we are confident BLOCKLORDS will appeal to their senses.
BLOCKLORDS Hero Concept Design
Tournament Committee: Can you disclose the completion time of “BLOCKLORDS” and subsequent plan updates?
Jizai Team: The deadline for the competition is quite short so we are already in full production to get this done in good time. We plan to have the prototype of the game and smart contracts done by August and this is what we will be submitting to the competition. If our results are satisfactory, our plan is to then continue work on the project and release an Open Beta version before the end of the year. Our full release is planned around Q2/Q3 of 2019.
Tournament Committee: We are looking forward to the completion of the game, and finally wish you the best in this contest!
Jizai Team: Thank you! Our team is very excited about this project and about the future of blockchain gaming as a whole. We look forward to seeing the other games submitted and playing them as well!