10783 characters

What would it take to play your Avatar on any game?

Imagine if you could take the stats from your level 110 Dwarf Priest in World of Warcraft and play the same character in DOTA. Or transfer the mining skill to Stardew Valley so you don't start at the bottom? Millions of gamers every year spend a lot of time playing, level ling up and modifying their game characters - and then when a new game comes out, all that is lost and they start again.

This is part of the fun of gaming - but it would be nice to build up a character and actually keep it. The effort you put into getting combat skills up in CSGO could be reflected in BF4. Spend 3 days fishing in World of Warcraft to level up, and then have to do the same grind in StarDew Valley? Sure it is fun doing the leveling ONCE per game, but having done that - we should have the option to show the game "Hey I already did this - I should be level 9 fishing skill on this character"

Or say you get an epic sword drop - it looks great and smashes through stuff like water. This is a bit like a trophy to gamers, but the problem is that the sword drop only exists on the game developers platform - if they close, or you stop paying for your account, you will probably lose your prized sword.

It would be nice if we owned the stuff we earned in games, and some people are working towards this using blockchain technology (https://magnachain.co/)

What would it take for this to be implemented

Problem 1 - define what we store ourselves - define a standard "Character stats sheet"

This would need to be a public thing and not owned by any gaming company

A good start would be the D&D stats lists and add it levels for each types of skills

My Base characters skill
Fishing: 7/100
            



Problem 2 - Map our standard character stats to each of the games

Once we have a standard character template that we control, there needs to be a mapping to EACH of the games we want to play.

Every games is different and needs to be treated that way as to not spoil the joy of the game. This isnt a way to overpower your character and blast through every level - might as well just cheat and be done with it. Rather we want to keep track of our characters traits.


Take WOW as an example - the time spend leveling your fishing is pretty reasonable, so keep the ratio as it is.
The skill you GAIN from fishing in wow, is less though - because of the mechanics of the game, you just right click - so no awesome skill gain here

World of Warcraft:
    time ratio = 1.0     # time ratio taken to progress (eg 1 hour)
    skill ratio = 0.4      # time ratio taken to increase skill 
            


Then look at StarDew Valley - the fishing is a lot harder so, it stands to reason that your skill should increase faster when playing StarDew valley (you still level the same, but the real skill of your characters avatar increases at a higher rate

StarDew Valley:
    time ratio = 1.0     # time ratio taken to progress (eg 1 hour)
    skill ratio = 0.9      # time ratio taken to increase skill 
            


Mining in MineCraft is a another interesting example - there are no skill levels in Minecraft so all you have is the amount of time you spend mining - should your character be able to spend 6 hours blasting through minecraft to get a level 5 mining skill, then jump onto WOW and be maxed out there?

Probably not - and this brings us to the question

Who decides how game skills are mapped?

It has to be game manufacturer that manages these mappings - build a game takes a lot of balance, re balancing and tweaking to get the gameplay and progression correct. Good games have nailed this, many dont but that is a separate issue.

How will the manufacturer of a well balanced game map the skills? Well, usually it would be a 1 to 1 ratio - this basically says that "fighting in our game is pretty balanced and your progression is normal"


Problem 3 - Game manufactures would need to agree to it

They have to agree to it = Why would they do that? What possible business motivation could they have for allowing people to load their own characters, not to mention the effort to setup the process and define the mappings?

ANSWER: Customer demand

At this stage no one is really asking for this as a feature, but maybe we should be - maybe we want to have control of our own avatars.
We should start asking for this!

They wont do it otherwise, and once a few big companies do this - it becomes a required feature for each game. Games in 6 years time would rather buy a new game which allows them to play their custom character.

Problem 4 - not all aspects of games suit this

Not every game has character stats or skills progression, and that is fine - leave them out of the equation when you import your character.

The mapping process will tell you want is allowed to be imported - even if it is your hair style, clothes colours and name - that's a start.

Minecraft for example doesn't have a mining skill so it will ignore that stat on import. BUT when you export back to your character you can take the fact that you mined 4,000 blocks and found 75 diamonds. That sits as a 'stat' in your character - not a lot more, but perhaps another game sees and recognizes that and will allow your minecraft {total diamonds mined} to increase their base starting mining skill


Problem 5 - When Game manufacturers go out of business

When a game company folds, what happens to your scores and achievements? Well unless you downloaded them they are gone.

Even top companies like Google deprecate access to things, including the Android Web access
https://developers.google.com/games/services/web/gettingstarted

Get Started with Play Games Services for Web
Important: Google Play games services is deprecated for client-only web games, and is not likely to function as expected. 
Do not use Google Play games services for new client-only web games. Server-side calls to the REST API to service Android 
games will continue to be supported (see here for more details about server-side REST API access for Android games).
            


Lets hope people saved their scores!

Problem 6 - Gaming the gamers

What is to stop a person modifying their game so that "if you pay $49.95 we will increase your leveling by 999%" - Pay to play comes along and suddenly all the rich kids are completely overpowered on ALL games.

A bit tricky to resolve this, but it could be that games only accept stats from other games specific versions.
e.g. World of Warcraft accepts mining skill stats from {Stardew Valley < v1.1.2}, {Shiny Game < 1.0.1}

So if Shiny Game releases version 1.1 which has paid to play, then other games can choose to accept or reject stats sharing from them.

Basically, game companies would have a reputation in the form of how 'honest' they are with players leveling up.

Summary of the problem - who manages what and where is trust kept?

For this to work it needs a couple of things
1. Games should be able to keep their own stats, avatar, achievements lists (so you dont lose your badges when a game company 'turns off the lights')
2. Game makers should be able to keep control of their gameplay (so games cant cheat by inflating statistics and achievements)
3. Someone (??) needs to decide what constitutes a fair skill ratio for each stat in a game.

So,

1. Gamers keep their own character details

We need to keep a complete set of data on our characters


2. Game makers control how easy / hard it is to level up

Game makers continue to control the environment

3. Someone (??) manages the skill ratio between games

A group / someone / you / game maker (no idea) needs to implement the mapping of skills in a game to skills in other games.

Lets face it - fighting a zombie in Minecraft is a lot easier to fight a good bot in a First Person shooter

Next steps


Support existing attempts in this

There are several places where you can generate characters for games (see References below) as well as API's that let you collect game data ( https://igdb.github.io/api/endpoints/character/ )


Game Manufacturers

At the least, you should provide a way for games to download their stats - many do this already, lots with a nice web interface, but in addition to that please provide a way to export the data in a useful format for data import. (JSON)

Please consider for future games how it would allow importing of character data. Instead of choosing an avatar at the start, ALSO allow a player to import a character. You decide on the format

For Gamers

Keep playing and when you want your data from the game - download it yourself. If there is no way to do this, nag the company to provide a way. We should always make sure we have access to our own data.

Could blockchains do this?

Possibly - see the flow chart below for a summary on when is a good time to use blockchains (taken from From NIST Blockchain Technology Overview: https://www.nist.gov/publications/blockchain-technology-overview )

Responsive image




References

Game Developers Character Generation Tools

3D high res characters https://www.reallusion.com/character-creator/game.html
2D Sprite generation http://gaurav.munjal.us/Universal-LPC-Spritesheet-Character-Generator/

Plus a great reddit list at https://www.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/8e1r26/i_made_a_list_of_all_thos...

Gameplay

Generic role-playing game system https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_role-playing_game_system

API's that let you collect game information

Steam Achievements = https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/achievements
Google Play Achievements (developer info) = https://developers.google.com/games/services/common/concepts/achievements
Blizzard API = https://develop.battle.net/documentation

IGDB: Video Game Database API - https://igdb.github.io/api/endpoints/character/


Open Source Games (what is this doing here - move it somewhere else)

https://gpl.ea.com = EA list of Open sourced games, including SimCity, Sims3, some Need for Speeds

Using Blockchains in Gaming

https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/blockchain-gaming-game-developers/ (being developed)

Whitepapers for above company
https://magnachain.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/MagnaChain_WhitePaper_Latest_En...
https://magnachain.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/MagnaChain_TechWhitepaper_Lates...

Personal Data in a blockchain? (No)

https://imgur.com/a/RlUj9Ed

https://medium.com/itrue/how-blockchain-can-be-used-to-store-and-secure-confiden...
You could encrypt data first, but may be cracked in 10 years (blockchain content public and visible by everyone)



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