EVM compatibility for games and MUD on Starknet?

It’s such a delight that 2 million $STRK are granted to Realms by starknet foundation. I feel that Starknet should be the home of autonomous worlds more than ever.

Even after the storm of dissatisfaction over the Starknet airdrop on Twitter on February 20th (why so specific? It’s my wife’s birthday!) I’ve been riding the high waves of builder confidence, fiery passion, and bold ambitions from the ETHDenver Dojo Ninja Cafe to ETHGlobal London’s AW Research’s Hacker House, and all the way to the Starknet Meetup at the HK Web3 Festival.

But three weeks ago, I landed in Lisbon for the Autonomous Anonymous conference, and man, was I in for a ride! The game composability that I had been eagerly awaiting on Starknet unfolded dramatically right before my eyes during a whirlwind two-day hackathon. I even got my hands dirty and tweaked a game called ‘Downstream Utopia’ using Playmint’s toolkit. Over those three days, despite the cool demos like ‘Dope War’ and ‘Loot Survivor,’ perhaps due to a fear of the Cairo language or just unfamiliarity with Starknet’s gaming ecosystem, out of over 20 projects, iirc, only one took on ‘Dope War.’ As a builder who’s built modifications to spice up ‘Loot Survivor,’ I felt a pinch of disappointment, and even caught a whiff of mockery in the tg group.

Over the last year, we’ve run some wild experiments in Starknet’s gaming ecosystem and even pulled in a bunch of game developers keen on Starknet by translating Dojo’s docs into Chinese. We even rewrote ‘Crypts & Caverns’ in Cairo—twice, thanks to some fun updates. We deployed it onto Katana, aiming to mesh it perfectly with Eternum (big thanks to Loaf). At last year’s Starknet Istanbul Hacker House, we whipped up a product called ‘Ryogae’ to tackle the swap issues of non-token assets in the Autonomous World. We’ve crafted character generation modules, game governance modules etc. I know I’m not alone in this, but we haven’t managed to rally a devoted troop of onchain game devs like Lattice did with Mud, without even dangling the carrot of airdrops!

Just last weekend, Redstone officially launched its mainnet, bombarded with games! The bull market is peeking around the corner—as Moody hinted in his proposal (Second (Third, Fourth, …) User Airdrop - Making Starknet Happen) “The opportunity cost of building for Starknet vs. all-other-EVM-based-L2s is currently too great.” - it’s tough getting devs to pick up a new programming language. But I’m betting more onchain gaming devs will come to Starknet to deploy games if written in Solidity. Then, they can get a taste of Starknet’s slick tech, and dive into learning Cairo to craft even more intricate games.

Back in EDCON 2023 @Eli said and here I quote “Typically, you would write the first version of your software in Python, but when you want to scale, you need to use other highly efficient languages like C++, WASM, or Rust. I believe the same thing will happen with Cairo; you might deploy Solidity code on Kakarot, but that’s like using Python to write a high-frequency trading engine, which isn’t suitable. You would need to write in another language, and that other language will be Cairo.”

I think that we should have an EVM-compatible gaming solution on Starknet and explore the interoperability and compatibility between Starknet and Redstone or any other fully onchain game. I hope we can see items crafted in This Cursed Machine then sold in Dope War, and adventurers in loot survivor show up in downstream or biome. This is how we started back in 2022, build worlds not walled gardens, however I am concerned about being left behind or even isolated because of the Cairolang barrier.

I am passionate about permissionless and composable autonomous worlds. Any like-minded pals out there keen to join forces on a product that can onboard more game devs?

Thank you @redvelvet @lxdnr for bringing up L3 on starknet in previous posts. love to hear your thoughts!

Can’t agree more!

Solidity is an easy starting point for traditional game developers who are new to crypto and is also quick for making thought experiments. Cairo performs better on more complex calculations and game mechanisms.

Bridging the two sounds like a very appealing idea, let’s talk!

please add my tg @juyi_juyi on your convenience, I have found several ppl interested in the idea! Thanks!

Absolutely, the 2 million $STRK grant to Realms by the Starknet Foundation is a thrilling development, reinforcing Starknet as a burgeoning hub for decentralized gaming ecosystems. Your journey from ETHDenver to ETHGlobal London, and then to the HK Web3 Festival vividly illustrates the vibrant community backing Starknet despite the hiccups like the airdrop controversy.

Your experiences at the Autonomous Anonymous conference in Lisbon, particularly with the game ‘Downstream Utopia’, highlight an exciting yet challenging aspect of Starknet—its gaming ecosystem’s unique dynamics. While it’s great to see individual games like ‘Dope War’ and ‘Loot Survivor’ getting attention, the broader developer engagement is crucial for a truly vibrant gaming landscape. That’s why we at Reddio have developed “Itachi”, a developer-friendly decentralized modular sequencer framework that’s now open source.

Itachi is built on the modular Yu framework and written in Golang, offering unparalleled flexibility and customization for developers, especially in the gaming sector. Itachi supports various VMs including CairoVM and developers can easily port EVM over to Itachi, making it an ideal choice for developers looking to build or transition into Starknet’s ecosystem. Meanwhile, we do notice the challenge for developers to move from Solidity to Cairo, esp. for a technical stack like MUD, we encourage developers to port EVM over, so that your whole technical stack will work smoothly together with your gaming logic written on top of MUD. You can launch your own Appchain on L3 powered by Itachi with EVM on top of Starknet.

By leveraging Itachi’s capabilities, developers can craft games on L3 EVM on top of Starknet, later on they can switch to Starknet L3 fully with reduced latency and lower gas fees, potentially solving some of the barriers you mentioned, like the Cairo language learning curve. Our vision aligns with building open, permissionless worlds—not walled gardens. We believe Itachi can serve as a bridge for more developers to enter the Starknet ecosystem, initially using Solidity and gradually transitioning to Cairo for more complex needs. That’s how we see Itachi can unleash Games on fractal scaling with no limitations.

We’re eager to see more developers join this initiative, experimenting with Itachi to create engaging, composable games that thrive on Starknet and beyond. For those interested in exploring further, Itachi’s source code is available, and we’re currently welcoming contributions and feedback to enhance its features.

Let’s build worlds where adventurers from one game can seamlessly venture into another, crafting a truly interconnected universe of games. If this vision excites you, we’d love to collaborate and see what worlds we can build together.

Thanks @neilydhan We have started to dig into Itachi and look forward to working you!!

Fantastic, looking forward to it!