DApp games beyond the browser

DApps (decentralized apps) are quickly gaining popularity, but most of them are confined to the browser. While this is a very succesful approach, Ethereum DApps can work perfectly in a native environment with minimal changes.

 Published On June 25, 2018

With the DApp ecosystem growing rapidly and new cryptocollectible games launching everyday, Metamask is perhaps the most popular wallet to use them, because it’s a convenient browser plugin and doesn’t need special software to use it.

While there’s nothing wrong with that approach, there’s a strong case of building a DApp game on a standard Desktop application like almost every other PC game:

With Electron we compiled a native app for Windows, Mac and Linux of our Darkwinds cryptocollectible game by adding small amounts of code:

Since Metamask is not available in Electron, we had to implement all the functions provided by the addon. Thankfully, all the packages used for account creation, import and export of backups and local encryption of account credentials already work on Electron.

Playing with Cryptocollectibles in Windows 10

When using the native version of the game you get a separate fullscreen app that you can switch to/from like any other game. When running for the first time, we locally create an Ethereum wallet for you that’s encrypted in your computer and is never shared with other sites that could read to it.

Or if it’s your preference, you could also import an ethereum wallet you already own and use that.

Having a native app also means we can use a different CPU/GPU priority for more FPS and a smoother experience. When the game is installed in your hard disk, we pack higher resolution assets and everything will load faster. We also know players will enjoy having our game installed and in it’s own app icon and the folder of their choosing.

While we still support the web version forever, we’d love to see more DApps in native format, specially games that need the extra resources like ours.

We hope this could be a trend and cryptocollectible games emancipate from the browser. One of the great things about cryptocurrencies is the platform independence, and we’d love to see a DApp published on Steam or itch.io.

Browsing and buying cards on macOS

Beyond Desktop

A DApp game should work perfectly with Mobile browsers like the excellent Toshi.

But, in the same way we did with Electron, it’s possible to compile with Cordova to make an Android and iOS app. All the same components we used for communicating with Ethereum nodes on the Desktop just work on Mobile, and webGL has flawless performance on modern phones, making iOS and Android a far out platform for DApp development.

A rough version of our DApp running as a native iOS application

We are curious how Apple and Google will interpret their policies for this kind of app. If negative, there’s a very hard future for DApp games outside the browsers. We hope both companies will agree that there’s some really cool products in this space and no very different from other cryptocurrency products already on the platform.

We’ll keep you posted on our mobile adventures soon, hopefully with good news. Now, you can try our experimental native version of Darkwinds here.