Interview with EOS Pixel developer Guo Dafeng
On the 28th of September, EOSing, an online interview established by Inewb Blockchain Front, EOSRaychains and Hoo Wallet, invited the co-founder of EOS Asia and the co-founder of Strikingly, Dafeng Guo for the eighth interview. The current explosive Dapp, Pixel Master, was released after the community modified the EOS Pixel source code opened by EOS Asia.
As an EOS Supernode, EOS Asia which was created by Mr. Guo, focuses on program development technology. His team members have rich experience in technology and product development. Mr. Guo himself has been writing programs since he was 14 years old and to some extent he is an expert in this field for more than ten years. EOS Asia aims to introduce the EOS public chain to the mainstream market, and hopes to develop Dapp by using its own technology and product capabilities so that everyone can use EOS.
EOS Asia's recently developed EOS Pixel is a Dapp that allows players to collaboratively create artwork on a large canvas, and EOS Pixel is the first application based on block-chain. In addition to the player's collaborative creation of art, another fun part of EOS Pixel is that the player has the opportunity to earn back the EOS spent on painting after drawing a pixel.
I. The original intention of developing EOS Pixel - Hackers & Painters
Referring to the original intention of developing EOS Pixel, Mr. Guo said that a book he read in middle school, Hackers & Painters and its author Paul Gram, founder of the famous incubator YC, had a deep influence on him. Another company of Mr. Guo, Stringkly, was just hatched by YC.
Written in one chapter of Hackers & Painters, painters and hackers (programmers) are both creators and they like to create things from a blank sheet of paper, but what is created by hackers is interactive compared to painters. For example, a website created by a hacker can interact with the end user and such interaction can be seen, while the painter draws a picture but cannot perceive the feeling of people seeing the picture. Therefore, the development of EOS Pixel is to let everyone paint together on a blank canvas, creating a timeless piece of art on the block-chain.
After EOS Asia developed EOS Pixel, it did not release EOS Pixel based on legal considerations, but chose open source. Soon the community released the current Dapp-Pixel Master on September 22th. As of today (September 28th), 80% of the pixels have been sold (total value 80,000 EOS), and Mr. Guo said that he was very happy to see the current picture made by community player together in just a few days.
II. The design principle of EOS Pixel
1. Development background
EOS Pixel refers to other large collaborative drawing canvas applications, one of which is the famous Milliondollar Homepage. The founder sold 1 million blank pixels on a blank website in order to raise college tuition. Each point sold for $1, and soon 1 million was received. The ads that were released on the website (http://www.milliondollarhomepage.com/) at the time can still be seen today.
EOS Asia's motivation for developing EOS Pixel is that as a supernode, EOS Asia is obligated to prove that EOS is the real “king of the public chain”. Large collaborative canvas applications require many players to work together at the same time, which can show the performance of the EOS main network. If large collaborative applications work on poorly performing public chains, collaboration of the players can't be displayed in real time, and it cannot give players a good experience like EOS.
EOS Asia's development philosophy is to make EOS Pixel a Dapp that is especially easy to play. Players can start playing when they see the canvas. As EOS's complex account system has already formed a threshold, if the game itself is still very complicated, then even the fun games are not very meaningful.
2. Game mechanics - maximum-interestingness
In terms of game mechanism design, the credo of EOS Asia development team is maximum-interestingness, which means the most interesting. The most interestingness must be the different intersection of multiple game elements. Players can choose the elements they want and development team can set different incentives for players to push these elements to the extreme. These elements include artistic creation elements, money elements, curiosity elements, destruction elements, social elements, and regional protection elements. The development team puts these elements together and gives the player incentives to let the player choose which element to play close to. The collision of different elements in the process produces a very interesting chemical reaction.
Take the Pixel Master as an example, many players have found the game elements they like. At the first glance, the pattern on the entire canvas is very confusing, but the details of the canvas reflect the characteristics of different players. At present, Pixel Master has the following types of players.
(1) Artistic creators, they work together to draw the artistic image on a pixel by pixel and continue to extend, as shown in the image below, the image of the mandala and the unicorn created by the player.
(2) Animation fans, mostly after 80s and 90s, as shown in the following figure, they like to draw the image of childhood anime characters onto the canvas.
(3) Patriots, you can see various national flags and political declarations such as "Trump 2020". These players express their patriotic enthusiasm and political position through the canvas.
(4) Advertiser, because the canvas itself is naturally a billboard, and the players are generally holders of cryptocurrency, as shown in the following figure, there are many coin-related advertisements on the canvas.
(5) Real estate game players, circle a solid color area or randomly draw a large number of points, so that once someone paints on it, they can get 26% of the EOS they spent as the profit.
(6) Prank players, they spoof based on the patterns already on the canvas, ‘EOS’ and ‘ETH’ in the following picture are added by the spoof players.
(7) The anarchist, they like to increase the chaos on the artboard and can be divided into three categories:
Chaotic evil, such as painting bad language;
Chaotic good, such as destroying the immoral pattern on the canvas;
Chaotic neutral, like to make some damage to the ready-made works, hoping to gain income when repairing.
The above categories of players have found elements that they are interested in, and can be included in four types according to Bartle's Taxonomy: killers, achievers, socializers, and explorers.
Mr. Guo believes that the correct game development logic is: first, think about the interesting elements of the game, and then predict how the player will position in the game, and then introduce economic incentives to guide the player to find their own position, and finally it is also necessary to repeatedly polish the details and adjust the parameters.
However, the current block-chain games generally have too much emphasis on financial attributes, and the game's interestingness is generally insufficient. Because developers think that the economic incentive mechanism of the certificate can make up for the lack of fun of the game itself. They neglect the interestingness of the game and the player's positioning in the game.
3. Pixel Master's economic incentives
(1) Pixel auction
Each pixel sets a fixed 1.35x conversion price, stimulating the player to consciously seize the site, such as the real estate game players mentioned above.
(2) Patron Bonus
A portion of the 35% difference generated by each pixel transfer is distributed to all participants as Patron Bonus. The distribution ratio of each participant = the sum of pixels drawn by the participant / the sum of pixels drawn by all participants, so the Patron Bonus can encourage early participants.
(3) Game Activation threshold
Before 15% of the pixels were sold, the Patron Bonus and the proceeds after the pixels are bought are not allocated. Because the early participants contributed a high percentage of the pre-emptive pixels and the early pixels would be bought by the latecomers, the early participants face extremely low risks, which is not conducive to attracting new users. The set of Game Activation threshold, on the one hand, prompts early participants to invite more people to participate in the game to reach the 15% dividend threshold, and on the other hand, makes early participants aware that participation is risky.
Part of the cost of the invitee's painting will be paid to the inviter, which is a common setting for most block-chain/internet games.
(5) Prize pool reward（Last Pixel Pot）
Who draw the last pixel will get the EOS in the entire prize pool, which is used to extend the time of the entire game.
4. Some details of EOS Pixel settings:
(1) forbid to upload images.
Players must draw one pixel at a time, allowing the uploading of the image would make it too simple for the player to occupy a pixel. Painting one pixel after another spends the player's time and allows the player to enjoy the creative process. Completing the work one by one makes the player generate the feelings to protect it, and the player are willing to share the work with others.
(2) Initial pricing
The initial pricing of each pixel, 0.05 EOS, is the result of multiple simulations and rethinking by the development team. Considering the entry threshold of the average player, the player draws a meaningful pattern, which takes about 100-200 pixels. The initial price of 0.05EOS can be afforded by the average player, and the player will cherish this work after paying. High initial pricing will cause the average player not to play this drawing game, and there will be no communication effect, and eventually it will become a game of few players with many EOS, which is contrary to the original intention of the development team - the first art created by the players in collaboration on the blockchain.
Pixel Master's heatmap and current product map
To sum up, we believe that the secret of Pixel Master’s success is mainly three points.
The first is that the EOS Asia development team followed the correct game design ideas to ensure that the Pixel Master has enough gameplay.
It is precisely because the EOS Asia development team can insist on maximum-interestingness, thoroughly understand the player's role positioning, and design the economic incentive mechanism of EOS Pixel on this basis, so that Pixel Master can avoid the shortcomings that many blockchain games only emphasize on economic incentives and neglect the misunderstanding of gameplay, and stands out as a bursting app in various game applications. The complex pattern on the Pixel Master is the result of a chemical reaction between collisions between different game elements.
Secondly, the EOS Asia development team can raise strengths and avoid weaknesses. Large-scale collaborative painting applications can fully utilize the performance of the EOS main network. At the same time, the development team simplify the game's operation steps, so that players with EOS accounts and Scatter wallet plug-ins can draw directly on the main interface, which further reduce the threshold of participants.
Finally, it must be pointed out that EOS Asia's mission prompted it to choose to develop and open up EOS Pixel, allowing the community to release Pixel Master in time to attract more people to participate in the ecological construction of EOS.
PS: Guo’s answer to the Pixel Master question
1. According to the mechanism of Pixel Master, the end time will be reset for 24 hours after each drawing, but he future game may not end. How can the development team solve this problem?
Mr. Guo said that Pixel Master is operated by the community team and is not controlled by EOS Asia. EOS Asia's original intention is that Pixel Master, as a work of art, should have time to start writing and end the creation. I hope that the community team can design the mechanism to make the game come to an end. For example, BM has proposed some solutions in the telegraph group, such as shortening the reset time of each painting pixel or directly setting the final painting time, but ultimately it is decided by the community team.
2. Pixel Master Center Point (500,500) "Overpriced"
Mr. Guo said that this situation was beyond the expectations of the development team. Although they predicted that there would be "real estate speculation" behavior, they did not expect the center point to be so crazy (currently about 4500 EOS, 180,000 RMB). It may be that players think the 24-hour reset mechanism allows the game to continue for an indefinite period of time. In the end, people can always find someone to pick up.
3. Exhibition hall first, then museum
At present, Mr. Guo is chatting with several museums, and his works may first enter the exhibition hall for exhibition. Mr. Guo believes that this work, as the first painting based on the collaborative work of block-chain, is fully qualified to enter the museum collection, and achieving it depends on whether the museums can realize this.
4. Pixel Master's profitability
Mr. Guo did not know the profitability of Pixel Master. Players can calculate according to their website. It is known that the community team has spent 3000 EOS to buy RAM, they may have just get back the cost.
5. Guo's relationship with Pixel Master
Mr. Guo responded that he did not play any role in the Pixel Master! He originally hoped to provide some help in the contract, but Pixel Master has not participated in all the changes from the release to the present. It shows that the Pixel Master community release team has a good C++ foundation, and the changes based on the EOS Pixel contract are all completed by themselves.
6. After EOS Pixel, what important project will there be after EOS Pixel? Whether the game ecology will become your main flagship project?
The team will do other applications,but they will continue to be devoted to the games. EOS Asia still focuses on its initial job - generating block stably for all the holders. All of the block rewards for the supernode will be invested in R&D, but EOS's block revenue is currently insufficient to support large-scale R&D teams.
7. The next outlet for EOS is Dapp.
The Dapp that made the explosion will be supported by the EOS ecosystem. The current EOS holders are expecting a fun and good Dapp. Developers need to focus more on Dapp. However, Dapp's research and development is not easy at present, and I haven't seen much good Dapp yet.
At the same time, Mr. Guo believes that the success or failure of EOS lies in Dapp, and EOS needs to have Dapp for large-scale users. This is why EOS Asia takes time to develop EOS Pixel, because EOS Pixel can drive many people to participate in the process of painting. Many of the surrounding friends just want to play EOS Pixel to buy EOS.
8. The EOS Pixel was unable to be released while Pixel Master became the explosive Dapp, do you regret it?
Mr. Guo said that he did not regret it, but still felt depressed. After all, he has participated in the entire design process of this explosion application. However, as the founder of a supernode, Mr. Guo is still very happy to promote this explosion application. It is also the responsibility of the supernode. He also holds a lot of EOS. If this application can attract more people to use EOS, the price will rise and it can be much helpful for him too,