Recently, NFTs have been increasingly used in video games due to the huge amounts of money they bring in. The Play-to-Earn industry is actively developing. Blockchain technology has organically fit into the mechanics of multiplayer games and has expanded the possibilities for users both in terms of immersion in the game world and in terms of opportunities for real income.
Guild of Guardians is a mobile RPG where players can team up and compete in a guild to earn epic tradable rewards. The game is scheduled to launch in Q1 2022 and already has over 130K players on the waiting list. Our task was to create 2D digital avatars for players that would be set as their profile pictures and could be purchased on the NFT marketplace.
|Game monetization using NFT avatars that can be purchased on the marketplace||Create 2D traits of creatures of different races to form digital avatars||Project manager|
|Create an algorithm for generating avatars from individual traits||Creative director|
The key initial information was the game itself. Guild of Guardians is built on the Immutable X platform developed by the blockchain company Immutable. It has already established itself as an active player in the gaming blockchain market by releasing the successful Gods Unchained card game. In turn, the Immutable X cryptocurrency it created is the first Ethereum layer two solution for NFTs on Ethereum with instant trade confirmation, significant scalability (up to 9,000+ trades per second), and zero gas rate without compromising user data storage.
Our team had to create 2D digital avatars that would be minted as NFTs and could be purchased on the Immutable X marketplace. These avatars could be used by players as their profile pictures and avatars on social media and messaging sites such as Twitter and Discord. Players would also have the option to sell their avatars to other players.
Avatars had to match the style of the game and include creatures of different races: goblin, orc, ogre, human, elf, demon, skeleton, dragonborn, and serpentkin. They had to be randomly generated from different traits, characteristics, and styles. The customer had a brief and references, but they did not fit the style. Therefore, first of all, it was necessary to adapt to the game style and find a visual approach that would suit the customer.
The client identified 2 key phases of work:
- Creation of mockups, style guide or moodboard on the style of future avatars.
- Creation of avatar concepts with different traits, characteristics and styles, randomly combined via engineering work.
Accordingly, the first stage of work was to find a suitable visual style for avatars. The client had the following requirements:
- Plain background colours.
- Visible face and torso.
- Appealing traits without negative: no crying, beatings, sadness, etc.
- No gender bias.
- True to the Guild of Guardian style without duplicating it.
- Obvious and intuitive rarity – it should only take a glance for the player to figure out which hero is rarer.
The team offered various options, and ultimately the design was approved. The choice was made in favor of an angular design in the spirit of the low poly style, characterized by an emphasis on the use of geometric shapes and the fragmentation of real objects into stereometric primitives.
The subject of discussion was the attributes of the characters behind their backs: swords, axes, wings, and so on. Their original size required them to be taken outside the borders of the avatar, which seemed unacceptable to the client. In this regard, it was decided to reduce all such attributes so that their main part remained within eyeshot.
Initially, the client wanted to create one trait for all characters. However, we showed that this was impossible since each race had a different head shape and facial features. In addition, some traits were only available to men or women. It was necessary to adjust the traits for each race. Our Unity developer created a custom algorithm that combined artist-created traits from different races to generate full-fledged images.
Communication mainly took place with the marketing manager, who evaluated the results of the work. The final versions of the avatars were approved by the game director.
For 2 months of work on the project, our artists, together with the Unity developer, succeeded in generating more than 40 thousand avatars. We created a huge number of traits in the following categories:
- Head shape.
- Background FX.
- Background color.
Thanks to the algorithm created by our developer, the combination of different traits and attributes of characters was implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The number and quality of NFT games continue to increase. More and more game developers are trying their hand in this direction. Given the popularity of games such as Axie Infinity, it can be noted that many players favorably accept the integration of the blockchain into the gaming environment. However, there are still many questions regarding the rules for the sale and use of such assets in marketplaces and their scope. Therefore, when developing NFT games, it is important to carefully study their specifics or choose reliable and experienced partners who have implemented NFT cases under their belt.
Kevuru Games quickly picked up the NFT trend and has already implemented several similar projects. In particular, the team took part in the creation of characters for the FPS game Undead Blocks on the Ethereum network. The team boasts specialists who are well versed in the blockchain and its integration into games, as well as a carefully written pipeline both for creating individual NFT attributes for a finished game, and for developing an NFT game from scratch. if you also consider NFT a promising direction, but have questions or need help in implementing your idea, feel free to drop us a line – together we will implement any of your concepts and make it work.