“I was born too late to explore the planet and too early to explore the universe.” This anonymous quote is why I prefer exploration, fantasy, and space games over any other genre.
The digital worlds of video games are my new frontier.
I grew up watching Tron and reading Snow Crash and Ready Player One. I always imagined the digital universe as a place where video games live together in one coherent universe where all the games and digital worlds coexist.
In one world, you blast dragons out of the sky in a space ship. In another, Call of Duty soldiers are wielding Magical swords from World of Warcraft. All games and worlds are connected with the same rules and items. How is it all going to happen? With blockchain; not Bitcoin, just blockchain. Same technology, different purposes.
This article is not going to be about blockchain gaming and how distributed ledger applies to virtual goods. Though I will briefly explain how it works: all assets and rules are registered on a ledger that is spread across many computers. Items are produced in a timely fashion and cannot be created at will by the developers. Avatars themselves are registered on the ledger and live forever. Any avatar can travel anywhere, its stats easily detected by any program that can match them to the rules of the game.
I was waiting for the age of the “Metaverse” to arrive ever since I was a kid. Now it seems we’re finally getting there, thanks to 8 Circuit Studio.
8 Circuit Studio was founded in 2017 in Seattle. Its founders are veterans of the gaming industry. James Mayo worked for Nintendo, Microsoft Studios, and Day 1 Studios. He worked on games like Super Mario, F.E.A.R, Mechwarrior, and Age of Empires 2. The rest of the team had previously worked on SOCOM US Navy Seals, Halo, and for companies like Disney and Hasbro.
Their first game is going to be Project Genesis, a PvP arena space battle with FPS elements. The goal is to defeat the opponent’s mothership before they destroy yours. 8 Circuit Studio invited me to try a pre-alpha version of the game, as a veteran of flight simulators.
In Project Genesis, you choose between eight different ships and four avatars. Each ship has different stats and primary and secondary weapons. You then flying your vessel into space battle to breach the opponents’ shields and board their mothership.
Once you board the mothership, the game turns to an FPS where complete objectives such as hacking the core and melting the main reactor. The first to clear the objectives wins the match.
Since this is a pre-alpha demo, the game is still not perfect. Flying the ship is uncomfortable and unintuitive at the moment. The POV is from the gun turret and not the ship’s front, a disorienting choice that paradoxically makes it harder to aim. Missiles are overpowered as they auto-seek and almost always hit. Flight movement is archaic with WASD movement and vertical strafe. The damage model is nonexistent, nor damage from objects and surface. The only way to get hurt is from enemy fire.
On the other hand, the graphics are stunning, and the UI is clear and easily readable. The HUD is excellent, and the ability to divert power management between shields and engines is fantastic. The FPS gameplay is pretty ordinary with a generic assault rifle and the natural movements, but running through the corridors of the ship fighting off ambushes by other players is pretty engaging.
Taking everything into account, Project Genesis is an excellent game with outstanding potential. The combination of FPS and spacecraft battles is tastefully crafted, and the first steps into the Metaverse excite me. It might not become a reality in the near future, but it can be achieved sooner than I was hoping.