Decentralization and open source go hand in hand. An open-source software development model is a system that encourages collaboration between loosely coordinated participants to create something of value that’s available to everyone. This explanation doesn’t differ all that much from a possible explanation of a blockchain (i.e. a decentralized ledger): a system where loosely coordinated participants work together to create a chain of blocks that’s available to everyone.
While decentralization and open source lie closely together, many decentralized games keep at least some of their code (everything that’s not on the blockchain) hidden from the general public. This is understandable. If you put your time and your money into creating a game of your own, you wouldn’t want anyone to simply copy your entire codebase and create their own version of your game, would you? All your brilliant, expertly coded ideas up for grabs? No, thank you.
However, this also makes it difficult for budding DGame developers to learn how to create a new DGame. After all, how can you build a DGame if you don’t have any examples to look at? It’s hard! And that’s where MonsterEOS comes in. The developers of MonsterEOS believe open-source projects are a must for a decentralized world. As such, MonsterEOS is and will always be entirely open-source. In fact, on their ‘About’ page, the developers encourage others to browse through their code repository and clone, modify, and re-publish their code.
What is MonsterEOS?
As you might’ve guessed from the title of the game, MonsterEOS is a DGame on the EOS blockchain. Remember Tamagotchi? The toy fad of the late 1990s and early 2000s, where you had to take care of a little pet by feeding them and keeping them happy? MonsterEOS started out as a Tamagotchi game. You can create a monster and name it at no cost, and it’s your job to feed it and make sure it sleeps enough.
If you don’t feed your monster, its food bar will gradually decrease, after which your monster’s HP will go down. Your monster stays alive for about 72 hours before you absolutely have to feed it, else it dies of starvation. The energy bar will gradually go down too, and you need to check in regularly to make sure it goes to bed. Feeding your monster and sending it to bed is a simple Scatter transaction that doesn’t cost any money.
You can have as many monsters as you like, but you don’t have any say in what they’ll look like. MonsterEOS is not a breeding game. It doesn’t have a genetic code that determines your monster’s external attributes. My best guess is that they have a number of monsters that a script runs through to randomly select the one you’ll get. I’d look in their open-source codebase on GitHub to confirm, but I’m not a DGame developer and have no idea where to look between all the different files ?.
However, judging from the game’s marketplace, it seems that there are at least twenty different types of monsters you can collect. I’d have created more monsters to confirm this, but there is a cap on how quickly you can create another new monster (about once every few hours). That’s a good thing, because it means that players won’t be able to flood the game (and the EOS blockchain) with lots of new monsters.
If you’re impatient waiting a few hours before you can create a new monster, or if you’ve been unlucky in generating the monster you want, you can also have a look at the game’s marketplace to see which monsters are for sale. At the time of writing, 107 monsters have been put up for sale, most of which haven’t been sold yet. Many are ridiculously expensive, costing 50 EOS (almost $400) or more, but some only cost between 0.50 to 5 EOS.
However, nearly all of these monsters are dead. In fact, of the 107 monsters, only one has been kept alive (the one in the middle on the screenshot above). All the other ones have not been fed for 72 hours and have died of starvation. You can still buy them though! Who knows, maybe there’s a market for dead digital collectibles? Weirder things exist on the Internet, so I’m not ruling anything out here.
The developers take a 1% fee off of any market order, which is currently their only way of funding. Ultimately, the developers want MonsterEOS to run as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). They’re currently in the process of creating an EOS smart contract to automate how funds and even equity are distributed (it’s based on the slicing pie equity model). Again, all this is open-source and can be viewed in more detail on their GitHub page.
The developers are also studying ways of implementing in-app purchases, but they state twice on their website that they want to avoid the pay-to-win schemes that many DGames (and traditional games) unfortunately suffer from.
Playing EOS Games With Scatter
Scatter is currently the only desktop wallet that works for the MonsterEOS web app. There’s also a mobile app for the game, where you can either use the Token Pocket app (iOS and Android) or the Scatter app (Android only) to play MonsterEOS. Considering you need to check in with your monsters regularly, and you might not always have access to your laptop or PC, it’s useful to have a mobile app where you can feed your monsters and/or put them to bed.
In general, I find the Scatter desktop integration with EOS games better than the integration of the MetaMask Chrome plugin with Ethereum games. Scatter pops up a lot faster and it feels snappier than MetaMask does. You also don’t need to pay gas fees, a big plus. However, you will sometimes have to stake some EOS for CPU and RAM power, something that’s still a bit confusing to me and that’s not very intuitive in the Scatter app.
Currently, I have 0.9518 (the equivalent of approximately $7.45) staked in CPU and RAM resources. Some EOS games seem to require a higher stake than others. I remember EOS Knights as a particularly demanding DGame. MonsterEOS, however, seems to run fine with the stake I currently have invested.
Battles in MonsterEOS
After feedback from their player community, the developers of MonsterEOS decided to expand the capabilities of their game. As such, MonsterEOS is no longer just a Tamagotchi game. It’s also a battle game. You can pit your monsters against the monsters of other players. In the ‘Battle’ tab, you can see the arenas that players have created over the last few months and watch other players’ battles too.
If you want to fight with your own monsters, you can do so by clicking on ‘quick battle’, after which you’ll wait for an opponent to join your arena. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t game many players, so you might end up waiting a long time. The best strategy to find an opponent is to shoot a message in the general chat of the game’s Discord channel, asking if someone’s up for a fight.
The battle mechanics are easy: you have a timer during which you can engage in three attacks: a lightning, animal, or neutral attack. If you don’t attack before your timer runs out, the turn will go to the other player. So it’s an interactive game, which is different from most other DGames.
Just like the monsters, the arena is a 3D model. You can swivel the camera and zoom in or out to have a better view on your or the other player’s monster. It doesn’t look very good graphically, but it’s a start. Additionally, the developers have been hinting at a MonsterEOS 2.0 and the teaser screenshots they’ve released look much more promising.
Apart from the marketplace and the battle arenas, there’s also a leadership ranking where you can rank by eldest monsters, top activity, top collectors, top battle monsters, top battle players, and a graveyard too (strangely morbid once again).
MonsterEOS is not a complex game. Nor do I see it as a game that’ll draw hundreds of players, particularly not in its current iteration (MonsterEOS 2.0 might change that). But that doesn’t mean MonsterEOS should be dismissed. MonsterEOS is a valuable addition to the DGaming industry because it's an entirely open-source project.
The EOS blockchain is an excellent blockchain for DGames. Personally, I much prefer it over the Ethereum blockchain. But there are few games that serve as entry-level examples to model your DGame on. MonsterEOS might be the only one. That’s why, if you’re a budding DGame developer, it’s well worth checking out MonsterEOS and their GitHub code repository.