ICO Spotlight: Interview with Paul Mumby from BattleDrome
This post is part of the ICO Spotlight, a series of posts with the teams behind the different projects covered by Coinschedule.
Hi Paul, please tell us about BattleDrome. What is it?
BattleDrome is a gaming platform where players create, train, equip, and build up Gladiators. These Gladiators are then entered into events to fight in combat to win Fame and Riches!
We are creating a gaming platform, currently centering around several core mechanics:
– Creation, Ownership, and Training/Advancement/Buildup of Gladiators
– Entering Gladiators into the Arena, in order to fight and gain experience, skills, and FAME by defeating other Gladiators
– Spectators watching the matches, which will be rendered out in realtime as a visual spectacle
– Wagering on the outcome of matches
– Advertising, to help sponsor prizes for the matches, gaining impressions from the spectators.
– Volunteers who “staff” matches to keep things running, and are compensated for their time
This entire platform is driven by, and tightly dependent on an ERC20 Token called FAME which we are issuing via ICO. This creates a robust economy of supply and demand surrounding FAME tokens, and creates a compelling multi-faceted gaming experience that we think will appeal to a wide array of end-users.
In addition it should be noted this entire platform is 100% on-chain, and 100% decentralized. There is no “house” and all “fees” are 100% recirculated into other players/users.
We have big plans for the future of BattleDrome, with several ideas on how we can further build onto the platform such as:
– Adding a Warrior Marketplace, supporting the trading/auctioning of Warriors
– Team based arenas
– PvE (Player vs Environment) Dungeons, allowing you to take your warrior, and send them into the dungeon much like a traditional RPG to gain experience and riches
– More complex AI based matches with a marketplace for new AI behaviors for your warrior
– And even third party events/game types which the warriors can participate in.
But for now we’re focusing on building the core game mechanics, and trying to nail down balance, and fun core aspects to the game and platform, and use the momentum gained to continue to build on the platform from there.
What determines which gladiator wins? Is it random, or is there something you can do to make your gladiator win?
I’m glad you asked, as the combat mechanics in the core game, will be a central aspect of all facets in BattleDrome.
Our current Proof of Concept code (Which has already been developed and is being privately tested now, to support a very rapid release of an Alpha/Beta game shortly after ICO completion) is using a system modelled after the real Gladiatorial games in ancient Rome.
In those times, Gladiators were commonly “slaves”, they were the property of wealthy patrons, or politicians looking to improve their standing through fame won in the games. Their masters could tell them where to go, when to fight, and who to fight. They could tell them how to train, and equip them with quality weapons and armor. But once the Gladiator was in the ring, they were king.
To this end, BattleDrome is modelled after a system of algorithms and rules, bound by a series of statistics and skills that the Gladiators possess. Their owners (the players) can choose how to spend available points in skills in the Gladiator, making them a fast moving, but light hitting target, or to make a heavy duty tank, which is slow. Or do you focus on offense or defense, do you pile all your money into weapons, and go light on skills? etc. This combined with ability to buy expensive elixers to extend your gladiators endurance or fortitude in battle, etc, all constitude mechanisms within the players control.
In addition the player has some level of strategy in deciding which events to enter, and against which opponents. And timing your entry into an event can affect outcome.
But once in the Arena, the outcomes are determined by the rules in the AI engine, decided based on the skills, equipment, and statistics of each warrior, as well as the moment to moment circumstances unfolding on the battlefield in a royal rumble style match. There is randomness injected in the form of die rolls, which determine the outcomes of actions. These rolls are weighted against the skills/stats of the Gladiator. So while random chance plays a role, there is still much strategy in the decisions leading up to battle.
Lastly, there are other factors at play from the metagame. Do you wager? How do you wager? What are the prizes currently? Do you submit a weaker gladiator as fodder to attract your arch-nemesis in order to surprise them with your prize fighter? etc…
We hope that even though this system is governed by a set of ultimately simple logical rules (which will be fully open-source at time of release), that the complex factors at play will create more than enough complexity and nuance to keep players challenged and entertained, and provide compelling spectales to observe.
How did you come up with this idea? What’s your background?
My background is originally in Engineering, starting out in Electronics, and Robotics Engineering, moving into Computer Engineering, and then into the IT world. I’ve been working in the software development and Enterprise Solutions consulting industry for nearly 20 years now. I’ve worked on massive enterprise solutions for some of the largest enterprises, governments, military, etc on the planet.
Along the way I’ve also dabbled in Game development, in some cases as a hobby, and in others professionally (building industrial simulation systems for deep sea submersibles for example at one point in time, using the Unity game engine).
Myself, and my team have all been working together in one job or another, or in personal projects for a very long time. We’ve all been involved in the Crypto/Blockchain ecosystem since the early days, and sometimes we think so much alike we’re completing each others sentences.
When Ethereum came along, I invested in the original crowdsale, and began immediately wracking my brain for interesting and fun ideas of what I could do with this technology. I have come up with several ideas, some more complex than others. And being an avid gamer, and having experience in Game Development, I also started coming up with ways to build an entirely decentralized game platform.
It started with dabbling in a few ideas, a basic dungeon crawler, or a simplified MUD/MUCK game realized through blockchain. Eventually it evolved towards the concept of the Battle Arena, with aspects pulled from various successful trends in the gaming industry.
With our history of working together, and the opportunities and market growth shown in Ethereum, it hit a point where it made sense for Ian, Jeff, and Myself to form up, and try to bring this project across the goal line. In the past months, we’ve evolved the early concepts into a finished Proof of Concept of the current BattleDrome concept, and we felt that it was mature enough for Prime Time.
And you know the rest of the story! Now we’re on the steady march to ICO, and hopefully a successful campaign, letting us realize this exciting idea, and work with our supporters and players to build a strong ecosystem on this platform!
Tell us about FAME. What is it used for?
FAME is at the core of every aspect of BattleDrome. It is paid to create a Gladiator (100% of which actually ends up held by the gladiator). It is paid to upgrade a gladiators skills (at creation time, within limits). And it is used to buy the gladiator equipment.
The Gladiator actually holds fame himself, and gains fame through success in combat. The Gladiator must pay a small fee to enter an event. All entered gladiators battle it out in a mass melee, where any defeated gladiator loses 50% of his FAME holdings to the one that defeated him! Don’t worry though, defeat isn’t permenant death, the owner can pay a fee to have their Gladiator revived! (note each time I’m talking about fees being paid by the owner, they always go to the Gladiator, the Gladiator pays a fee to the arena to enter an event).
In addition to the fees paid, a Pot is built up in the event to be won by the victor. This pot is made up of funds provided by sponsors (advertisers who want to advertise to the spectators, they bid for the top 3 banner spots in the game visualization engine, their bids also going into the pot). And any wagers cast contribute to the pot as well.
The engine is driven by a series of “Polling” transactions, which are supplied by “crew” (basically spectators that are willing to pay the gas cost for those transactions). That gas cost is compensated by a small portion of the pot (through balance tuning we can get this to a point of net gain for the “crew” making it worthwhile, and adding some “competition” to be the one to supply the next transaction, this will work akin to mining Ether or Bitcoin.
Wagering is profitable for the one who guesses the winner, those who guess wrong lose their wager, a portion of which goes to the winning wager, a portion to the pot for the victor.
This ecosystem will have each facet if balanced correctly, driving off of one another:
– Players looking for lucrative fights, to earn FAME
– Lucrative fights attracting the best Gladiators
– Those fights will be more interesting to watch, more at stake
– That will attract more wagers (in turn making them more lucrative)
– The more wagers, the more with a vested interest in the fight, which means more spectators
– More spectators, more demand for advertising
– The more money at stake, the more interested in “mining” transactions for the arena (meaning rewards are stronger)
– More “crew” means again, more spectators.
And so on. Each of these facets is designed to drive off one another, feeding all aspects of the FAME Economy.
In the future we plan to add more ways in which FAME can be used:
– Trading/Auctioning Gladiators in the marketplace
– Additional games/arenas/events
– Individual Gladiator Sponsorship
– AI Marketplace
What can you tell us about your team?
As I mentioned earlier, Ian, Jeff and Myself go WAY back… We’ve all been in the software and IT industry for about the same amount of time. All focusing on different aspects, but with a large amount of overlapping skills and experience among us.
I’m the “big picture, big idea” guy, I’m also the “hardcore code monkey” able to take a complex idea, and bang it out into code in a relatively short amount of time. I also have extensive experience in defining, and deploying massive solutions for large enterprise. I’ve never encountered a language I couldn’t work in, and I’m no stranger to complex algorithm development, low-level programming, and concepts like Machine Learning and AI. I’m currently CTO of a rapidly growing software development firm.
Jeff (Warf as we call him) is another very strong software developer, able to pick up a new language very rapidly, and seems to pride himself on using the most unexpected tools to great success on a regular basis. I remember one time we had an AI challenge at our office, and 8-9 members of our team each wrote our own bot AI for Unreal Tournament. We had a wide variety of approaches, running on development servers in the office, or highend workstations. Mine was a genetically evolved neural net that had some complex behavior I was sure would win… And Warf shows up with his bot running purely in bash/awk on a hacked shell environment on his iphone, and poking at the API directly for the server… And wouldn’t you know it, he kicked everyones ass… (the thing was unbeatable, blew my mind).
Anyway, Warf is one of the few developers I’ve met who I feel can keep up with me, and who I trust to kick off a project like this with.
Ian, I’ve known since highschool, and we’ve always followed a similar path. He’s more of a systems guy, about the plumbing and infrastructure of an operation. He’s meticulous, strong attention to detail, and a critical thinker. He’s good at playing devils advocate, and giving us a much needed splash of reality when appropriate. Also a strong developer, but more focused on systems, operations, dev-ops, testing, etc. Ian helps round out our team and give us not only another pair of hands to get work done, but a much needed contrasting perspective to keep the whole team grounded.
Both Ian and Jeff have been in the industry as long as I have been, and have worked for some awesome teams (sometimes with each other, sometimes not). We all have long running careers, and could rattle off half a dozen very impressive projects for fortune 100s, or large governments.
As a team, we are tight knit, and have very strong bonds. Sometimes we are able to finish each others sentences. So while we hope that the ICO is successful enough to hire more team members and grow the team to allow us to expand scope, and achieve even more, I’m confident that the three of us can achieve amazing things with BattleDrome if the ICO is successfully funded.
Thank you so much Paul and good luck with your ICO.
Thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview. We appreciate the interest in our project, and hope that our open, and transparent approach to the ICO, with many safeguards for our investors will be a refreshing change for investors, and lead us to a successful campaign.
Looking forward to the next 4-6 weeks of wild ride! And if all goes according to plan, looking forward to working with you all on this exciting project!
For more information and to join the ICO please go to https://www.coinschedule.com/projects/1183/battledrome-ico.html