When non-fungible tokens (NFTs) emerged as a disruptor in the crypto space in 2021, they also began making inroads in the gaming world. NFT game development is an emerging trend and the NFT game market size is expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2028.
If you’re a game developer looking to foray into NFT gaming or build successful NFT games on the lines of Axie Infinity or CryptoKitties, this article is for you.
What are NFT games?
NFTs are digital assets based on the blockchain. NFT games give players the opportunity to earn non-fungible tokens by skill or chance. They can be in-game assets, memes or GIFs. Players can exchange them with other players using cryptocurrency.
An NFT can have only one owner at a time. NFT games are based on blockchain technology, and any element created on the blockchain is registered as unique. This means that within a game, only unique items can be sold to make an income.
Weapons, armors, skins and characters are morphed into tradable non-fungible tokens. So, if you get a weapon in a game, it is unique for that game. The copy of that weapon would have a different value to the original.
As an NFT game developer, you can explore different revenue streams. You can earn a percentage of the download fee when users download your NFT game from marketplaces. You can also make money from a transaction fee when players sell or exchange an NFT.
NFT game development is also worth pursuing to attract players given how they benefit from playing these games. As there are unique items and players have control over their assets, they have the chance to sell NFTs to earn cryptocurrencies.
NFT gaming platform development involves building in-game assets accessible to players, which they can sell to or trade with other players through the marketplace, thereby earning an income. NFT game developers may allow players to configure assets and create their own virtual worlds. This can work as an incentive for players looking to apply their creativity.
NFT game development steps and tips
The success of an NFT game hinges on different factors. Let’s explore them through the typical steps of NFT game development.
1. Zero in on a good idea
Of the many genres of mobile app games, which one should you pick and why? Researching the NFT game landscape and consumer trends will offer insights into the kind of game you should develop. Whether you decide on a strategy, role-playing, adventure or a simple puzzle game, clarify who you’re targeted the game at.
NFT game development companies are coming up with unique ideas for games. For example, some have move-to-earn games that reward players for performing a physical activity such as dancing, walking or running. Cashing in on the immense popularity of fantasy sports, some developers are creating virtual teams of players that are proxies of actual professional players. Choose wisely keeping facts, trends and consumer attitudes in mind.
After you’ve identified the genre and idea, you can fill in the other pieces of the puzzle:
- What features and mechanics do we want to add to the game?
- What is an appropriate game size to have?
- What story and art will elevate the game?
- What revenue model should we pursue?
A popular revenue model is play-to-earn, where the player earns in-game currency by completing challenges. Players could also collect in-game NFTs to sell for cryptocurrency, cash out, or rent out on NFT marketplaces. Axie Infinity uses combinations of in-game and play-to-earn game tokens, rewarding players in versatile ways.
2. Pay attention to creative design
NFT gaming platform development is based on creating attractive game elements that draw players and create commercial value. Your 2D and 3D graphical skills will be put to the test. For inspiration, have a look at the sci-fi NFT game Parallel. Belonging to the genre of card trading and battling, Parallel has impressive art to go with excellent storytelling. The game’s genuinely rare digital cards also boost its attraction. GRIT, a Fortnite-inspired battle royal set raises the bar for graphics in NFT games. Unlike Parallel, GRIT has a free-to-play mode.
3. Web or mobile?
NFT game development companies will have to decide between building games for the web or mobile. While web apps can be played directly in the browser, mobile platforms allow developers to offer more personalisation and make the most of device-specific features. But you’ll have to build separate apps for iOs and Android phones. Needless to say, the game should render seamlessly on both platforms. A clear understanding of game app development costs can be helpful to balance budget and features.
4. Determine the tech stack
An NFT game is blockchain-based. It involves authenticating players, connecting to a smart wallet and generating smart contracts. For successful NFT game development, you need to use the appropriate tech stack. To render your NFT game, you’ll have to choose your frontend, backend, wallet and smart contract technology. Popular technologies for NFT game projects include ASP.NET Core, Unity3d, C #, MongoDB, MySQL, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Truffle Suite. If you were to use Truffle Suite, for example, you could connect your NFT app to the Ethereum Blockchain and Hyperledger Fabric.
- Your NFT app needs to integrate a cryptocurrency wallet for login and authentication purposes. Metamash, AlphaWallet and Ronin Wallet are some crypto-wallets to consider. Your NFT wallet should have reliable security, blockchain support and cross-platform compatibility.
- Smart contracts define the underlying roles, rules and responsibilities of NFT games. They automatically execute them when predetermined conditions are met. NFT game developers usually use Solidity to code Smart Contracts. GitHub is a great place for Solidity (and blockchain) tutorials and courses. Python developers can consider Vyper for NFT game development. Experienced developers will be comfortable using Yul.
- The backend is the core of NFT game development. Remember that NFT game apps on the blockchain work in a decentralised manner. So, you cannot have centralized data access across your NFT game app’s backend. Use Chainlink to get information in and out of your blockchain database in a secure and decentralised way. As far as the backend programming language is concerned, Node.js is a good choice for building blockchain-based gaming applications.
5. Carry out testing
You’ve made it so far. Now it’s time to test your app. Any NFT game development company worth its salt will tell you how important it is to test your app for bugs and backlogs. For this, you have quite a few tools at your disposal. You can, for example, use testnets, which are an alternative blockchain meant for testing. The top Ethereum testnets are Rinkeby, Kovan Ropsten and Goerli. You also have the option to build a mock blockchain solely for testing, using a tool such as Ganache from Truffle.
6. Deploy the app
Once you’re happy with your NFT game app, you can launch it on an NFT marketplace like OpenSea, Binanace, Rarible and others. Before than, you’ll need to prepare for the mainnet. How is a mainnet different from a testnet? The mainnet is a working, fully-operational blockchain with its own network having its own technology and protocol. It is used to execute transactions, i.e. transfer digital currency from sender to recipient. On the testnet, live transactions or the use of cryptocurrencies do not happen. The testing deployment stage is essential to bring out a secure NFT game app.
Gamers are always looking for new experiences, and have taken to NFT gaming not only for a new experience but also for the income-earning opportunities. NFT game development is a lucrative option for app developers. Creating a winning NFT game will require solid tech skills, an in-depth understanding of the blockchain, smart planning and a fertile imagination.