AYYO's Odyssey: Reinventing Retro with Play-To-Earn

AYYO, we are making a game. It's a real-time massive multiplayer two-dimensional space-themed game that plays like someone connected a Super Nintendo to a Flux Capacitor. It runs entirely in the browser and requires no downloads. It's a game that you can play on your phone, tablet, or computer. It's free to play.

It's also Play-To-Earn. Did you just experience a guttural reaction to a Play-To-Earn crypto game?

Good. Most Gamers do not like crypto right now.

I've been researching Play-To-Earn games for over a year and have yet to find a single Play-To-Earn game of any quality or with anything resembling stable tokenomics. I was onsite at Game Developers Conference 2023 in San Francisco; gamers do not like crypto. I don't blame them based on what I've seen in the market. A fun Play-To-Earn takes a lot of work to pull off successfully.

Real-time multiplayer 2D space combat.

Game Development

Let's first talk about game development. Let's talk about multiplayer game development. Let's talk about massive multiplayer game development.

Multiplayer Game Development takes work. I'm not talking about connecting Unity store assets here. Everything we built is custom. Writing a performant, scalable, and coherent game engine takes work. Writing a game engine that can handle thousands of players in a single game world is complicated. Writing an infinitely sized map with seamless zone transitions takes work. Synchronizing physics simulations over unreliable actors and limited bandwidth conditions is actually quite difficult.

Hexapod swarms inhabit the AYYOVerse. They collect energy and build constructs.

Keeping Perspective

I've been working non-stop since January 1st of 2023, on ayyo.gg. As of today, it's over 600 commits and 55k lines of code. I remember that no one will care about how hard or long you worked on something. They will only care about the results.

We are six months into AYYO's five-year development plan. We've made tremendous progress, and there is still much to go. There is a timeline of features available at the ayyo.gg website. The game is currently launched and in Alpha testing.

Drawing solid pixels as obstacles. Then tagging a graffiti smile face.

Scaling Massive Multiplayer Games

I have a background in cloud computing. I created a hosting platform that was acquired by GoDaddy. Separate from that platform, I have deep ties to Functions-As-A-Service and Serverless Computing before Amazon and Austen. Even this information is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a rich and lesser-known history of building scalable cloud solutions. Building massively scalable cloud solutions is not easy. It becomes challenging once you start dealing with a stateful, high-performance, low-latency system that needs to work globally. I know this from experience.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to scale AYYO. I spent weeks of development time setting up global infrastructure on Digital Ocean and AWS to ensure players would have low latency times regardless of their location. Maintaining our own cloud infrastructure was a large amount of orchestration code, complexity, and server compute bills to keep our clusters warm.

Tensor Flow v1 Bot AI having a moment

Enter Hathora

During one of our development days, I came across Hathora and had a friendly chat with their CTO.

Hathora is a serverless hosting platform for authoritative game servers. Hathora's offering more or less intersected precisely with the global serverless authoritative server architecture I had been working on for AYYO. I was impressed with their technology and the team behind it. I was also impressed with Hathora's vision for the future of gaming.

AYYO ended up being one of the first users of the Hathora platform as it upgraded its offering and launched its Enterprise grade product. I'm happy that AYYO is now running on Hathora, and it has been a great experience so far. Hathora allows AYYO to have a global reach without a massive investment in cloud infrastructure and engineering. We can instantly deploy our authoritative servers globally and scale them up and down as needed. It's an excellent fit for AYYO, and I'm excited to see where Hathora goes in the future.

Hathora means "hammer" in Hindi ( हथौड़ा )

Doing Play-To-Earn Right is hard

We've spent months pouring over Excel sheets running sensitivity analysis on our 200+ game parameters (and growing); it's challenging work. Any yahoo can deploy a smart contract and release a token. Incorporating this token into a game in a fair and fun way is a whole different story. We strive to provide a fun and entertaining gaming experience for all AYYO players and are working hard to ensure that the tokenomics are fair and balanced in both real life and in-game. We aren't building Pay-To-Win, Pay-To-Play, or a gambling loot-box sweat-fest. We are building Play-To-Earn. It's a fine line to walk.

I've concluded that any Play-To-Earn game releasing live tokens before the game is out of Alpha / Beta will likely not end well. It isn't feasible for any game of significant scale or complexity to have a stable token economy without being thoroughly tested. It makes logical sense. World of Warcraft gold didn't have any aftermarket value until the game itself was out of Beta.

64 unique items with 10^90+ possible individual item interactions are in development.

AYYO Token

We've taken a two-tiered approach to enable a safe environment to develop our tokenomics. AYYO directly connects to our custom-built Layer 2 Blockchain solution Etherspace, and we built a robust smart contract on the ETH network. Enabling the smart bridge between the two networks is an exciting prospect. We can only consider doing this once we have a stable game with a stable token economy. We are working hard to get there.

Our current thought is to enable the smart bridge as one-way for the Alpha, enabling players to maintain a token balance in-game that AYYO can mutate in Etherspace, but that is immutable to AYYO on the ETH network. This approach would enable safe testing of the smart bridge and allow us to test the tokenomics in a real-world environment. It's not simple! Even explaining how this would work is currently complicated. We are still working out the details and will have more information on this in the future.

TL;DR; - AYYO token will be available once the game is further developed and we have a stable token economy. We are working hard to get there.

The Future of Gaming

I've been thinking a lot about the future of gaming. I've been thinking a lot about the future of crypto. I've been thinking a lot about the future of the internet. My conclusion is that our future will experience aspects of the film Ready Player One. We will have a distributed digital metaverse of many diasporas. We will continue to have a global economy. We will continue to have international currencies.

Gaming will continue to grow. There will be more Gamers. We need to start seriously thinking about what a successful Play-To-Earn game looks like that is sustainable. In the future, most Gamers will be playing a Play-To-Earn game daily.

The Future of AYYO

I have a grand vision for AYYO, and I fully intend to execute this vision over the next four and half years. I've learned through experience not to share too much information or give away the ending early. The AYYO Alpha currently supports three separate game modes available in our Public Lobby. Come check out what we've shipped already. Try not to get eaten by a grue.

Stay tuned for updates. Come join the AYYO Discord as we develop the game.

Be excellent to each other.