There’s plenty going on in the blockchain world but no sector is currently hotter than those scaling technologies bringing side or off-chain capabilities to Ethereum.
In the world of games, this is a situation that’s seeing developers scrambling to take elements of their games off the Ethereum mainnet to reduce issues such as gas fees, while also improving gameplay features.
The mainnet is not adaptable; you can’t tune the network as you would like for your game.
Of course, as well as making its own game Zombie Battleground, market leader Loom Network has gained support from high profile games such as Axie Infinity and Neon District.
POA Network is another solution to add to the list.
Roll your own
Labelled a ‘Ethereum-based platform offering an open-source framework for smart contracts’, tech lead Igor Barinov says POA’s goal is to add the sort of functionality and flexibility that game developers want but can’t get on the Ethereum mainnet.
“The mainnet is slow, you pay a high price to make transactions, and it’s not adaptable; you can’t tune the network as you would like for your game,” he says.
POA’s solution is its own blockchain using the same underlying protocol as Ethereum but different consensus mechanism. As the name suggests, it’s Proof of Authority rather than Ethereum’s Proof of Work.
POA Network includes has cross-chain bridges to enables users to convert Ether to the native POA token, also including support for transferring ERC721 items across.
This means apps and games can use the mainnet for the things it does well such as security and liquidity, while using sidechains to provide scalability and transaction speed with minimal costs.
Thanks to this approach Barinov says game developers can create the blockchain they need for their specific game type.
“Most games don’t need sub-second blocks, 4 or 5 seconds would be enough for many browser games,” he explains.
It’s the dope
Indeed, DopeRaider, one of the first games to use POA, decided to move entirely off the Ethereum mainnet and run everything on POA.
We helped Doperaider create a custom bridge to migrate ERC721 items.
“We helped them create a custom bridge to migrate ERC721 items,” Barinov says.
This hasn’t come without some issues. Because Metamask doesn’t really support POA, DopeRaider has switched to Portis as its login (and wallet) solution, (although you can easily use your Metamask wallet within it instead of creating yet another new one.)
More generally, however, Barinov says he believes the advantages of not running blockchain games on the Ethereum mainnet outweighs the disadvantages.
“Not only can you experiment more, there are better options in terms of controlling your economy with a native token, perhaps even a stable coin, plus you have an empty network just for your game,” he explains.