Delayed release — Update and next steps
On Saturday we were ready to release, only to find the Polygon network was unusable.
Blocks were still being created at the normal rate on Polygon of one every two seconds, however these blocks had few transactions and some were even empty. The network problems were mainly on the RPCs — middleman services who you talk to when you get the state of the blockchain (i.e. loading the game), or when you want to publish to the blockchain (make an in-game move).
As a result, we were not able to deploy our contracts and perform the last tests before going live. This was not ideal, however we were hopeful this problem would resolve itself in short time. This didn’t seem like it was the same kind of problem when Sunflower Farms became popular, causing the delay of the relaunch of Beta, where the network was unusable due to high gas fees and congestion.
On Sunday, the network appeared to be in a better position. The number of transactions on the blockchain returned to normal and we were able to deploy the smart contracts. However, when we tried playing a game…the experience was abysmal. Transactions were getting stuck more often than not, and it was unpredictable when they would become unstuck. In the space of half an hour of trying I had only been able to make one in-game move. This was unacceptable and we decided to not allow anyone to create a new game — lest they end up with a horrible in game experience with TANKS on the line.
Monday — A new chain?
On Monday, we evaluated alternative blockchains for deployment. While deploying smart contracts to another blockchain is trivial, there are many other factors to be considered.
- The front end needs to be updated to point to the correct chain, RPC provider and game contracts
- We need gas tokens of the network in question to deploy the smart contracts
- There needs to be an easy way for anyone to acquire gas tokens and/or bridge them to the “new” network. If this was in any way non-trivial, we would need to find or generate resources to help people in the transition.
- We would need to create a TANKS bridge from BSC/Polygon/Ethereum to the “new” network
- Would the “new” network be a good gaming platform? Does it suffer the same problems as Polygon? What are the characteristics of the new network, etc.
- Do we stay on the new network and make it our temporary or permanent home? What about token liquidity, etc.
Here is a naive comparison between popular EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible blockchains. Networks which are EVM compatible will work with MetaMask (low barrier to entry) and do not require any code changes. Blockchains such as Solana and Cardano are not as easy to port the game to and would require significant testing before going live.
We are hoping the issues facing Polygon get resolved in a timely manner and that they do not continue into the future, however we know that if the situation does not improve, we will need to shift to another network with the consent and support of the community who would need to come on this journey with us.
In the meantime…
Callan and I had a lengthy planning session yesterday plotting out the short to medium term goals. There are still some features which missed the first release and we’ll continue to update and release new features over the coming weeks. The most significant feature we identified as not working in production was chat, we are hoping this will be released by Wednesday.
Here is a brief list of features which we’ll be working on in the coming weeks as incremental updates:
- Chat (currently developed but broken)
- Delay between the game starting and game being playable (i.e. to allow those with slow internet connections or those not paying attention the chance to join the game before it is playable)
- Map selection (the only map selectable at the moment is the Cauldron map, having both maps available unexpectedly broke)
- Tank selection (we have six tank models and over 30 skins to choose from). We will allow users to use any tank skin between now and V2.
- The option to allow in-game purchase of energy for TANKS tokens.
- More game customization options, including initial and max tank properties, starting locations and payout options.
- Tutorial game
- Gasless transactions
- Support for epic games (i.e. one energy drop per day)
- Support for higher number of players (i.e. a larger map)