Proposal: [Non-Constitutional] Funding for Into the Dungeons: Machinata - a PvP Digital Miniature Game V2

EDIT:

After discussing with several community members, one of the things we want to add to the post is using this proposal as a first step in creating a developer grant framework. Our team will begin drafting the document and put forward that proposal. We would like to use some of the structure and learnings from the ITD Machinata proposal for the general framework.

One example (not necessarily one we will use) - dev grant proposals must require a doxxed team + some demo video/build with assets to show the vision for the product.

Thank you to @thedevanshmehta for the good discussion and his :axe:! :slightly_smiling_face:

The ITD team will begin drafting the document. There is no expectation of compensation. If the DAO likes and passes the proposal, the community can decide whether to award ITD an additional amount of ARB that we can use for the development of the game and more assets!

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Thank you to @Frisson for helping push this to snapshot for a temp check!

Arbitrum DAO - Proposal: [Non-Constitutional] Funding for Into the Dungeons: Machinata - a PvP Digital Miniature Game V2 Snapshot

Abstract

This is a revised version of the initial proposal put forth to the DAO that can be found here.

Summary

We have a lot to say about Into the Dungeons, a world we’ve been building for over 2 years, however, in the interest of preserving the DAO’s and delegates’ time this summary will aim to provide a concise overview of:

  1. What is Machinata?
  2. Our Ask
  3. Why DAO Funding?
  4. How does the DAO Benefit?

Please ask questions. The goal of this post is to be direct and on point. Happy to share more details with whomever is curious, but wanted this post to be easy to follow.

What is Machinata?

Machinata is a 2 player turn based tactics digital miniature game where each player creates a 9 card deck consisting of units, buildings and spells. Each player then utilizes their deck to capture the opponent’s base.

Machinata is designed to have short to medium session-based gameplay that lends itself to competitive gaming. This would be the first competitive e-sport like title in the Arbitrum ecosystem.

We want to launch a playable version of Machinata during the 2nd half of 2024.

Our Ask

We are asking the DAO for 60,000 $ARB up front as a first tranche, and 180,000 $ARB in total. The rest of the 120,000 $ARB would be paid out in two tranches, 60,000 $ARB each.

1. First tranche of 60,000 $ARB to enable us to deliver the following:

Deliverable Description
Into the Dungeons Branding, Website, and Marketplace Pt.1 – BRANDING AND DESIGN The ITD universe is expansive and will be much more than just one game. It will all live on Arbitrum. We are aiming for a site at the level of KPR and have already had calls with the design agency that made the site. The Marketplace is our first product – one where people will come to buy and sell their miniatures and so it needs to make an amazing impact.
Progress on Base Miniature Deck Pt.1 – 7 ADDITIONAL CARDS We currently have 5 cards completed and will be able to complete the rest of the cards with the funding. Each milestone will include delivery of 7 cards.
UPDATED UNREAL ENGINE PROTOTYPE WITH 12 CARDS The existing prototype has 4 cards integrated. We will integrate an additional 8 cards and release 2 small teaser scenarios for marketing purposes on our website that will be playable for free. The DAO is welcome to try the full build at the time.

2. After the milestones above have been met and confirmed by the DAO, we would ask for the next tranche of 60,000 $ARB which will enable us to meet the following milestones:

Deliverable Description
Into the Dungeons Branding, Website, and Marketplace Pt.2 – RELEASE OF MARKETPLACE This second tranche will enable us to work with the design agency and release the completed website that will not only serve as an entry point to the ITD universe but will also include our first completed product – the Marketplace. The Marketplace is where players will be able to purchase the Base Pack, Expansion, or Single Miniatures. The Marketplace is also a key part of the sustainability of the game. By allowing community members to submit their designs/variants of Miniatures or completely new units, we will be enabling a creator economy that will generate revenue for artists, creators, and Machinata.
Progress on Base Miniature Deck Pt.2 – 7 additional cards completed By the end of this milestone, we will have 19 cards completed.
Smart Contracts We will complete smart contracts for: 1. Minting miniatures (on behalf of the community creator, if a design is accepted) with their wallet receiving 70% of the proceeds and Machinata receiving 30% of the proceeds for each unit bought/sold. 2. Since miniatures are collectables, we want to enable collectors to trade them freely without paying us a percentage fee. However, if a miniature is traded to a player OTC, then to use it in the game, the player must register it with us by paying a small activation fee. 3. Match History to be written on chain.

3. The final tranche of 60,000 $ARB will enable us to:

Deliverable Description
Begin Crowd sale of Base Game set (27 cards) + 1 PFP With the previous two milestones completed, the last tranche will predominantly be used for launching our collection which will have an actual game tied to it! We are currently contemplating 7777 packs with a percentage reserved for the Arbitrum community – See next section
Initial Marketing and Partnerships A lot of marketing and partnership money will be coming from the actual crowd sale as that will be key to making an impact in the Web3 space and bringing more users into the Arbitrum community to play Machinata and all the other cool games the community has been and will continue to build!

This funding released over three tranches will allow us to speed up development and raise the rest of the capital required for longer term growth of the game that will include some features such as:

  1. Streamed competitions (similar to what Parallel did with their invitational)
  2. New miniature packs being released
  3. New game modes
  4. Further development of the ITD ecosystem

Why Should the DAO Fund It?

We know asking for 60,000 $ARB upfront is a risk for the DAO, but here is why we think it is worth it.

  1. We have a playable prototype – footage from in-engine (Unreal Engine) gameplay can be seen below (we embedded a webp file so you don’t have to click and open anything. The resolution suffers as a result :blush:):
    tinywow_ITDPreview_46686118

  2. We are making a high-quality digital miniature game that has been self-funded so far. Each miniature has an illustration, which is turned into a card and 5 animated pixel art sprites – some of these sprites can be seen below:

Frost Knight

Night Walker

  1. We have been active participants of the ecosystem for the last several years. Our first project https://www.ruffionreborn.xyz was self-funded and is completely opensource with all client side (Godot), server side and assets (CC0) being freely available for the Arbitrum community to make their own games. We are currently working on adding smart contracts to Ruffion Reborn

  1. We are doxxed builders and Arbitrum is home!
    Ali Husain | LinkedIn
    Zehra Akbar | LinkedIn

How does the DAO Benefit?

The digital miniature model is not something that has been done yet in Web3. Games Workshop, the company behind Warhammer40K is currently valued at 4.15B USD. The concept of collectable digital miniatures with different editions, enabling artists to create variants and create a community powered economy is something that fits in very with NFT technology.

We are also creating some Arbitrum specific variants of miniatures. One example you can see below is the Soul Thief MUX variant placed alongside the Soul Thief Original Character.

We recognize that Arbitrum has a large and thriving De-Fi community and we want to involve and reward (even if it is a subset of) them for being a part of the ecosystem.

Character-SoulThief
Character-SoulThief-Mux

Character-SoulThief-Move
Character-SoulThief-Mux2

Character-SoulThief-Dmg
Character-SoulThief-Mux3

Character-SoulThief-Attack
Character-SoulThief-Mux4

A portion of the total supply (total supply will be 7777 1st edition packs, but the portion is TBD, likely 777 packs for the community) will be distributed to the Arbitrum community for free as a thank you for helping us build the game. We would like to work with the Arbitrum community via the DAO to figure out a fair distribution mechanism when we reach that point.

Machinata’s success is Arbitrum’s success as the network will see more users come onboard and more transactions. Most importantly, a very high quality IP, native to Web3, native to Arbitrum.

Thank you,

Zehra & Ali
Forgotten Machine

12 Likes

Hi,
I like these types of games, but I would change the order of implementation and payouts.

  1. First, it seems to me that it is necessary to interest as many people as possible in the game, that is, it is necessary to hold a tournament for the game with real payments for winning at the expense of a grant.
  2. Only then improve the game, create a trading platform, etc. after receiving feedback on the results of the tournament.
  3. Giving 7,777 card sets is generous, but it’s quite difficult to figure out how the DAO should distribute these miniatures. I think we need to come up with something different here.
3 Likes

Thank you for the feedback!

  1. This is definitely interesting and something we can look into doing first. The only thing that would need to happen here is implementing the multi-player functionality first, and marketing it to the gaming community as an invitational.

  2. The only thing I would say here is we have a playable single player prototype that we are adding an AI opponent to. The reason we wanted to do the Marketplace was to publish a few special edition miniatures to gauge the demand. Obviously marketing would have to happen first so I think this fits in with point 1 above.

  3. The idea is not to give out 7777 packs. The thought was that we would allocate 777 (again, number TBD) which is 10% of the supply and distribute it amongst the Arbitrum community. The rest of the supply, 7000 would be minted out.

I hope that addresses your points. Please let me know if there’s any additional clarification I can offer.

3 Likes

I don’t know much about games, but I have really appreciated the learnings from karel, dan, soby, and the gaming catalyst group. I do feel that I have zero expertise in gaming and would defer to these gaming experts. I would recommend checking out the framework presented at the last gaming catalyst call by Helika Gaming. This amount is in their first tier and so I’m inclined to support if the gaming experts do.

4 Likes

What I love

  • This is a reasonable budget for this size game.
  • Taking DAO investments in tranches is a good way to incentivize the builders and ensure the DAO is making a responsible investment.
  • I love the game concept - miniatures with limited, collectable skins is a great way for gamers to express their personal identity and happens to be the most profitable game monetization method (think Fortnite, LoL, R6, WZ, etc).
  • The art style is really beautiful.
  • Allowing community designers to create their own spin on the cards and providing rev share is compelling. 70-30 is industry common split.

What I want to learn more about

  • I’d like to see a stronger on-chain connection. The marketplace and on-chain stats are table stakes for web3 games. Here are a few ideas

    • Permissionless tournaments - imagine a community can host a tournament with certain requirements (such as holding their governance token) and the winners of game can be paid out in some arbitrary tokens (such as a mix of blue chip and the community’s token). I know Savvy would use something like this to engage their community.
    • Sanko integration - Your game would fit really well as a live streamed game, and where better to live stream than fellow Arbitrum project Sanko. I’m sure there are some great deep integrations you can kick off here.
  • I’d like to learn more about your GTM. While its non-trivial to make a game, its also non-trivial to get users to play the game. There is a lot of things bidding for our attention in this space, how do you plan to get people to pay attention to Machinata?

  • I’d like to see some of this ARB allocated to incentivizing players/creators.

This could serve as a great opportunity for the gaming catalyst to experiment with some of its ideas.

3 Likes

This is fantastic feedback. Thank you!

  1. Hadn’t thought about permission less tournaments and definitely something that would be good to look into. Integration with defi project in general is something that we want to do. I also really liked the idea you shared in TG re. people getting a savvy loan to potentially buy miniatures and try the game.

  2. Sanko integration makes a lot of sense. We definitely see Machinata be a competitive and stream able game so using a streaming platform that is arb native makes a ton of sense!

  3. GTM is super important and the idea there is to
    a. Get the website up and running
    b. Teasers on twitter
    c. Partnering with different communities that we have relationships with and are a part of. A couple examples would be ZenAcademy, Forgotten Runes, etc.
    d. Release playable scenario prior to mint
    e. Launch teaser of marketplace
    f. Begin marketing, giveaways, WLs via different alpha groups
    g. Announce mint date

We believe this will do a couple of important things.

  1. It should get more gamers onboarded onto ARB. the website will be the first intro to the world of ITD and then the rest of marketing via collabs etc. will be geared towards ETH and ETH L2s outside of arb.

  2. Give us an accurate sense of how many folks will be playing as the game launches (small percentage of minters assuming most are buying for trading purposes)

This leads to your last point.

To engage more folks, we will do some competitions and NFT or ETH or ARB giveaways as prizes and hopefully be able to partner with Sanko to stream and create more interest!

First thing first: i love the feeling. reminds me of alundra/chrono cross on the UI with a mix of the mechanics of strats turns rpg. The addition of cards makes me really interested in the product. That said, I don’t have an extensive knowledge of gaming in web3, even tho i have spent more hours that I would like to admit on defi kingdom and a few others.

But i will frame the whole thing from a different standpoint.

This is a development grant. Because you are asking for a grant not to incentives a product that already exists but to create one. It’s not, as most think, a problem of gaming vs defi grant imho.

So far, these development grants have only been gone through (in my knowledge)

  • the arbitrum foundation
  • plurality labs
  • questbook grant program

But they never went through the dao.

This is a gap that we have and that we need to address in general. It could be partially mitigated if the questbook program, now almost out of funds, will be renewed. But we need a development grant program for the dao. This is the can of worm you are opening with this request, and I am glad you are doing it because it’s something we need to solve sooner rather than later.

My personal opinion of course.

2 Likes

Love the concept for the game, collectibles as well as digital miniatures will appeal to a large section of gamers, web3 and traditional. The proposal looks well thought at and not asking for an unreasonable amount for this type of game. Clear milestones are great as well.

Side note - Ali (chaingamer.eth) is an excellent brain to have behind this, passionate as well as skilled at making his games. A great combination for backing.

1 Like

I like this proposal because it is well-thought out and meets a gaming use case. One comment would be the necessity to develop your own Marketplace vs using an established one such as Trove. Seems like the grant money would be better spent developing the art, the game, and marketing/incentives to attract players. I’d also ask the proposal to identify some metrics of success that would indicate such for the project! Best of luck…great start!

1 Like

I just read the revised proposal for Machinata and I’m genuinely impressed. The concept of a 2-player turn-based tactics game with a 9-card deck system is innovative and exciting. I appreciate the clear strategy behind the phased funding request and the deliverables, especially the development of the ITD universe and the marketplace.

It’s great to see a project with such a thought-out plan for sustainable growth and community engagement. The fact that the team is doxxed and has a proven track record in the ecosystem adds credibility. I’m really hopeful that the DAO will see the potential here and provide the funding. Machinata could be a game-changer in the Arbitrum ecosystem and bring a lot of value to our community.

1 Like

JoJo,

Thank you.

This is a development grant. Because you are asking for a grant not to incentives a product that already exists but to create one. It’s not, as most think, a problem of gaming vs defi grant imho.

In my opinion, you’re 100% correct on this. It is. It’s not a gaming vs. defi problem.

My motivation for creating this proposal is to try and expedite our processes. I understand and agree with the need for frameworks, but, and this might be my own bias, I believe that in tech at least, one should start with things that don’t necessarily scale and then worry about scaling.

One of the concerns I’ve heard from various folks is “What if we get an influx of requests if this one is voted on or passes? It won’t scale.”. However, I do not think there is anything preventing the DAO from being able to act on these proposals at least while we basically have very little activity on the proposals forum anyway, and it is mostly about frameworks.

I think we have the framework we need at the moment, and I appreciated what @coinflip wrote in the thread: Arbitrum Now: a pragmatic approach for the Moment - from what I have seen a lot of folks do echo these sentiments. This is an experiment trying to figure out how much action we can get folks to take and how quickly we can move. In fact, @Soby’s response (Arbitrum Now: a pragmatic approach for the Moment - #2 by Soby) had the most likes in thread where he also voiced the opinion “The DAO is the framework”.

My hope for this proposal is that it generates enough interest/discussion to warrant a vote and that vote passes outside of all these different programs. I’ve looked into the DAO programs and the pluraity labs one (we won that btw got us 2500 $ARB which might help with like two pixel art figures) and the questbook grant, (which was capped at $25K and @Flook was super supportive, spending a lot of time discussing the proposal) being out of funds - so it’s basically another wait for X weeks or a couple of months before that gets approved, then apply etc. etc.

This is the builders’ dilemma.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this discussion, because I know we all have a bunch going on and are trying to find the best way forward. I really do appreciate it.

Best,
Ali

1 Like

:pray: - 2024 is the year of ARB!

Thank you! This is actually a great idea and one that I had not thought of!

The idea for our Machinata Marketplace was basically two-fold.

  1. Provide artists with a set of tools (think even as basic as Asperite templates) that allows them to create new miniatures or variants. This can happen outside of any “marketplace”

  2. The second part is submitting, getting approval and then publishing their variant which would be an edition of 100 or 250 or 500 etc.

This is not something we would like to recreate and I think it would be awesome to have it powered by Trove! We might want a specific frontend that showcases our miniatures and their special animations and whatnot, but I would LOVE for it to be using the Trove backend and contracts. It might even make sense for us to extend the Trove contracts to support some of the functionality we might need if it doesn’t exist.

This was a fantastic suggestion! Thank you!

1 Like

Hey, Ali!

Love this proposal and shoutout @JoJo for bringing up that this opens up a larger can of worms around the currently un-filled niche of development grants funded through the DAO.

As the Gaming Domain Allocator for the Questbook Grants Program, I’d like to show my support for Ali and his game Machinata.

Ali was the first founder to apply AFTER the Gaming Domain was fully allocated and as a result was not able to funded in the first round of Questbook grants.

I believe Machinata would do well in the web3 gaming market and the smart way in which this proposal is structured is heavily aligned with the DAO.

I just wanted to add my 2 cents here in the forum and let the delegates know I support this proposal even through regrettably it was not able to be funded in time by the Questbook program.

Best,

Flook

4 Likes

Love the progress so far. 180k ARB doesn’t seem like excessive spend and makes sense to get the game from prototype to launch.

I do believe the sell tax is a bit high but that’s up to you guys, if it’s the commercial model then it is what it is.

Do you know how much it will cost to iteratively introduce new cards? Rough estimate?

1 Like

Thank you for the feedback @Djinn!

  1. Personally, I do agree the sell tax (70 to community creators/30 to Machinata) is probably high :slight_smile: but the reason I think it is justified and works in this case is because unlike the appstore model, we won’t really have many apps, just this one game, from which we need to run and grow the game.

I hope that makes sense.

  1. This is a very good question. As you probably know, it depends the complexity of the unit and animations, so I can give you a rough idea of the effort for a single card here, but obviously doing more (in the case of the base game 27), the cost in terms of time doesn’t scale linearly either, because I think if we just did 1 card at a time (see detailed resource and time breakdown below) but it would be a few thousand dollars for 1 card - the concept artist and the developer however can work much faster and churn out more content than the pixel artist who has to create a lot of art and animations for each new unit.

Here’s an idea of the resource breakdown.

    1. Character creation, stats, abilities
    1. Concept art & illustration
    1. Pixel Art card, Idle, Attack, Dmg, Move, Special animations
    1. Coding the character into the game - primary effort here is the special ability if there are special rules etc.

4 people involved in this process - myself from a game design perspective, our concept artist, our pixel artist & animator, Unreal dev - and it would overall likely be a 3 to 4 week process.

And by the way, if the community starts creating units etc. here, that would help with the cost which is why the 70 / 30 split since I would still want to review each unit and each animation, and concept to make sure it aligns with the lore and the quality of the game and the style of the art already there!

I hope that provides some insight.

Hello,
I would support your project if the main goal was to implement web3 and multiplayer game mode. For this stage, you don’t even need to implement a smart contract on Arbitrum; you just need to connect your wallet to the site. At the second stage, you can already connect the contract and NFT.
And calculate how many people and funds are required for this.
At the first stage, I think it’s not entirely correct to ask for funding for marketing, branding and design.
And if you have more qualitative picture of your game - please give it to community.

2 Likes

Not sure I understand this tbh.

The problem is all these things go hand in hand. It isn’t that marketing and branding and design don’t happen alongside building. The fact is if you build without focusing on the rest, you get no adoption.

For a product, and for the DAO, that is the ultimate goal.

Also, not sure what you mean by:

And if you have more qualitative picture of your game - please give it to community.

Thanks,
Ali

1 Like

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion, and not a statement of L2BEAT Governance Team

I’d like to start by saying that I’ve spent fair amount of time with @thechaingamer.eth, discussing his vision behind this game, his past experiences and how he plans to bring this to the market. I really enjoyed this discussion and I see @thechaingamer.eth as a dedicated builder who has a decent amount of experience in the IT world, has been involved in building and growing companies and has seen his fair share of big IT projects being delivered to the market, in short - he’s not only really dedicated and passionate about his project but it seems he knows what he’s doing.

I am definitely not an expert on indie games myself, although I do have some background on the market.

I see this project a bit differently than @thechaingamer.eth presents it, as I look at it from the DAO delegate perspective, and not a game author perspective. I’d like to share this view for feedback and consideration.

First of all, for me this project is not just about the game.

Of course the game is essential, I like the overall look&feel, it reminds me a bit of HoMM feat Gwent, so it sparks positive emotions. And I like pixel art, so it resonates with me. But from the DAO delegate perspective I don’t care that the game is not finished yet, I even like the fact that it will take some time for this game to be finished, as this allows us to use the potential buzz around it for our (DAO) benefit for a longer time.

I like the fact that the business model in this game revolves mostly around the fees from NFT collectibles and does not depend on in-game on-chain activity. That way it is cheaper for players and with Arbitrum low fees and the game’s low on-chain footprint new players would be able to enjoy it longer without being worried about gas costs and anything around it (although we also discussed how those topics could be ingrained in the game, so that it’s even fully transparent for the players).

At the same time if the game becomes successful we should expect significant traffic on those collectibles and in-game assets, which (with some luck) can easily scale to significant on-chain activity and inflow of TVL.

Furthermore, as this game is going to be funded (assuming the proposal would pass) from the DAO, we need to make sure that what we’re paying for is ingrained in Arbitrum ecosystem and not easily portable as-is to other ecosystems.

The game itself with its’ mechanics, assets, etc. would not be very Arbitrum-specific, everything, including the smart contracts is very easily transferable into other EVM-compatible chains. What is not easily transferable though is Arbitrum culture, which I understand as a unique set of recognizable projects and individuals involved in the community. If we can plant it somehow to the game, then even if the whole game was ported (or forked) to other ecosystem, it will end up being totally different product (with it’s own culture ingredient), clearly distinguishable from the Arbitrum OG.

Here come the project-branded assets already teased by @thechaingamer.eth. If the game makes extensive use of this differentiator and plants those Arbitrum-specific seeds at its’ core then we end up with not just having a (hopefully) successful game in our ecosystem, but a truly Arbitrum-native game. And since the game has a p2p tournament aspect in it, we can even strengthen this effect by having project-branded teams competing against each other, and even in-game ‘clans’ centered around projects. This, of course, only amplifies the market for collectibles, both digital and real-world.

From that perspective we can treat this project as not just an investment in a particular game, but also as a potentially attractive NFT project as well as marketing tool for the DAO that exposes and strengthens our unique community of projects and individuals. I can easily imagine game-related, project-branded swag distributed during ethCC or Devcon. For example t-shirts with specific creatures from the game but with clear distinction of the project ‘clan’, so there would be a line of GMX t-shirts, MUX t-shits, Camelot t-shirts etc. all providing exposure both to individual projects and to the ecosystem at the same time, in a subtle and visually attractive way.

It’s important to note that all of this could be achieved kind of regardless of whether the game itself achieves great success or not, that way it’s a much safer investment for the DAO as it provides benefits way beyond just having new game in the ecosystem.

Of course this assumes some unified support of this idea and involvement (at least in form of acceptance) from Arbitrum projects and broader community.

Wrapping up - this broader vision is the reason why I believe this proposal is an opportunity for the DAO and makes me excited about it. That’s also why I believe that in that broader vision it should go through the whole-DAO route rather then any specific program or framework.

Of course, this is my vision for the project, which doesn’t necessarily have to be completely in line with what @thechaingamer.eth has in mind, but I think it might be interesting to at least discuss it a bit further.

4 Likes

First off, thank you @krst for taking the time to talk the other day and also leave such detailed and thoughtful feedback.

I don’t think there is much for me to add to what you said. I agree with pretty much all of what you’ve said.

A couple of points that might be worth expanding upon are:

1.Making the game feel Arbitrum native

Honestly, we have no plans to build this out of Arb regardless of whether or not the DAO agrees to fund us. That being said, we want to integrate parts of ARB culture into the game. The MUX variantcwas one example - we want to do XAI, GMX, L2BEATS, SAVVY, TREASURE, CAMELOT, to name a few.

Additionally, @svRamsey made me aware of Sanko - arb native streaming, which would be another wonderful integration point. @svRamsey also had a fantastic idea on how savvy could be used by folks to try the game risk free!

As we build the game out and expand, I would like nothing more than to see it become an integral part of ARB culture.

2.The potential of cross-marketing is huge. I want to do as much of that as possible. Also would appreciate any and all feedback and help in this area!

Thank you again!

2 Likes