From the Co-Founder of Zynga (FarmVille) comes a new game. And this time a blockchain game!!! 👀
If you have ever played Farmville and got addicted to it from the first play itself, then this article is certainly for you. Eric Schiermeyer, who is one of the Co-Founders of Zyanga (Parent company of Farmville) has launched a blockchain venture called Gala blockchain.
A bit about Gala blockchain
Gala blockchain is in development right now and will be released soon. It's based on soft node model, where even mobile devices can participate as node operators. To be a node operator you'll need to buy a license which is around $1000 and then you'll get Gala coins and NFTs based on transactions your node processes. Sounds kinda like Facebook Libra system. It will also act as an ecosystem of Dapps. Sandbox games is the first publisher which has already launched the first ever Dapp on Gala project, named Townstar. And this is where the fun begins!
Townstar is basically a farm-town building and management game. It starts like Farmville with crops and animals and then evolves to industries, nuclear technology and so on. Game is currently in Alpha, and Beta will release in approx 9 days. There are limited Beta keys available to access the Beta gameplay, so you may first want to register and then we can continue this article. Registration is email-password based but you'll also be given a seed phrase and encryption password. Please write them on a paper or store them on a pen drive. New blockchain gamers might find it as an irritating step but these are essential for recovery or playing on other devices.
Once you have made the account and logged in you'll be given an option to upgrade to Gala+ membership. It takes $10 but gives you back around $110 worth of benefits straight away, which includes $10 worth of a loot box and $100 discount coupon for soft node license. And 100 Gala coins which can be quite valueable if the project is successful. So if you can afford then do upgrade. Right now only BTC is accepted but soon they'll add more crypto and fiat payment options. You can easily convert your cryptos to BTC via Coinbase, Binance or whatever exchange you prefer.
Check out this video for Alpha gameplay of Townstar.
Alpha is open to all and mainly serves as a "training center" for players and of course to iron out bugs and some game logic. Even though it is Alpha, it works super smooth and bugs or issues are really hard to find. Just as it should be. This is sure worth appreciating. We see too many games with Alpha and even Beta tags, and they are simply unplayable. I'm not just talking about blockchain games but also many AAA games!! Probably it's because of the fact that the game development is led by Mike McCarthy, ex creative director on FarmVille 2. Around 10 devs are already working on Townstar.
In above paragraph you might have wondered why I used the phrase, "training center". Well, the reason is that after Beta is launched, there will be a weekly leader board system and top players will be rewarded with NFTs (maybe even Gala coin and box coins), with the most exclusive being Farmbot.![2.png]()
Farmbot allows the holder to mint the premium in game currency called box coins. And if you have played any free to play game, then you would certainly know how much valuable (or money sink holes!) these premium currencies are. In fact, Eric is so confident about the role and popularity of these farmbots, that he has priced them at $100,000 each!!! Quite expensive I must say. At current rate it is around 14.68 BTC!! Maximum supply of these farmbots will be limited to 1000 only. Many of these will be rewarded to first spot winners in the weekly leader boards and other top players will get parts of farm bot. If someone has all the parts, he/she can create the full bot. I suppose there will be quite a demand for these bot parts in the player marketplace. One can also buy individual bot parts priced at $10 per lootcrate. Lootcrate gives you 1 random bot part of varying rarity. So the stakes are much higher in Townstar. It is much more than feeding your cows and collecting the milk!![3.png]()
The thing that makes Townstar really different from other similar games though, is the serious attention to the details. It tends to mimic the real world in terms of game logic and concepts. This is visible from the first step on wards that is choosing the location. A real world map is presented to you with all the countries and their different terrains. You can choose 1 spot and starting building your town from there. Location is very important. Spots near oceans provide with water transport (ships to transport goods), faster brime (can be processed to salt) production etc.
Plains provide more pastures which are good for the initial animal farm setup. Your farm animals can actually go out in the pastures and feed themselves reducing load on your workers and also the feed costs.
Forests have lots of ponds which can be cleared to get early game funds. Probably the only natural tiles, which when cleared gives back money. Don't clear them all though, as ponds are very useful for your town as you'll read further. Forests also have lots of trees which provide easy wood, though the random trees might be a hindrance in town planning. But don't worry, as everything that exists can be destroyed!!
Deserts are well pretty much barren but have oil seeps so fuel becomes a lesser issue. I haven't really tried this terrain though, so don't have much more info about it.
And of course how can we forget the high risk high reward mountainous terrain. Mountains provide ore (currently iron ore) which can be used to make steel, which can be further used to make..... well you know. Setting up mines and refining ore and then building factories is obviously expensive and slow process. Players trying to rush may find themselves stuck if proper planning is not done. Or then maybe have to spend on box coins to get out of that situation. You need funds to pay your workers, and to sell items you need to send truck/boat etc which costs some fuel. Also there is minimum amount of items that have to be loaded into the vehicle before you can send it to the market. So one can find themselves in a difficult situation when they don't have enough funds to pay salaries or fuel or minimum number of items. Between, fuel can be produced in game itself, so once you build the oil pumps and refineries it's not a big deal. Funds are what get burnt way too fast if you are not paying attention to worker salary or try to build too many buildings, but without items to process. Just like your typical real world!![4.png]()
Other than the terrain, you have productivity details. And these are what surprised me the most. For example, pollution can increase plant growth time. Also well refill time. Makes sense right. Pollution and nature don't go together. Then you have these wind mills to produce electricity which work best in empty areas. If crops and animal houses are around a pond or a marsh, then they require less watering by the workers. Brime production is faster on sea coastline. Workers move much faster on roads. Animals can feed themselves on pastures. Free range farming anyone? Forklifts to speed up industrial items transfer and tractors to farm crops and transport them to storage faster. Power plants provide electricity to adjoining factories automatically. Of course there are lot more details which are yet to be found. I suppose, all the Alpha players will be at good advantage when the beta launches. In case you are stuck somewhere or just want to restart with better planning, then feel free to eradicate your town from the surface of virtual map. Devs, especially the game dev is quite active on discord. Even asking for your town screenshots and suggesting you the improvements to rank better in leader board! So what are you waiting for? Join the game and perhaps be a part of the gaming revolution!
Please feel free to post your game feedback or opinions regarding the whole project in the comments below.