Solana-based NFT game Star Atlas recently released a playable demo through the Epic Games Store for NFT owners along with a developer toolkit.
Solana-based NFT game Star Atlas is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious NFT-powered games in the offing, but the outer space-themed strategy game is still a long way off from taking shape entirely. However, there’s some good news for eager players of Star Atlas: they can take a whiff of the NFT game through a limited demo released via the Epic Games Store.
Star Atlas: Showroom, a pre-alpha demo of the Unreal Engine 5 technology that powers the game, was launched on Thursday as part of a live-streamed event. The demo allows Star Atlas NFT owners to explore a 3D environment and view the ships and vehicles they have invested in.
Incidentally, the Epic Games Store is a popular platform for PC games, with over 194 million users claimed as of the end of 2021. What’s noteworthy about the platform is that it allows games that utilize NFTs and blockchains as long as these adhere to the platform’s regulations.
Who Can Enjoy Star Atlas’ Playable Demo?
At the moment, only those who own Star Atlas NFTs will be given access to the playable demo. However, they would need to own a ship and join one of Star Atlas’ in-game factions.
According to Michael Wagner, CEO and co-founder of the game’s developer, ATMTA, Inc., the playable demo likewise features one non-NFT ship that players can explore. He adds that select non-NFT owners will be given access codes.
There are plans to expand the Star Atlas: Showroom demo later this year to include additional features such as multiplayer capabilities, chat functionality, and the ability for NFT holders to take their ships out for a flight.
The F-KIT Toolkit
Aside from launching the Star Atlas playable demo, the game developer also released the Foundation Software Development Kit (F-KIT). It’s an open-source SDK that would make it easier for Unreal Engine 5 developers to integrate their games into the Solana blockchain, allowing users to sign transactions to complete in-game actions.
Per Wagner, releasing the F-KIT as an open-source toolkit means mainstream studios’ path to creating games on Solana will be faster. According to him, other builders can also take the kit and extend its use to other networks, like Ethereum. Nevertheless, for Wagner’s team, the toolkit is a way to encourage others to “build experiences that extend the Star Atlas universe.”
Star Atlas leveraged the live-streamed event to make other announcements. For one, it was revealed that it is updating its governance structure via a DAO and the path to fully decentralizing the game’s economy and ecosystem. It was also announced that there would be an upcoming digital graphic novel establishing the sci-fi game’s lore.
Wagner also intimated that ATMTA, Inc. is currently developing two clients for Star Atlas. One is the glossier Unreal Engine 5 version that the firm plans to release through the Epic Games Store only. However, a spokesperson for Epic Games said this version is not part of a formal exclusivity deal. The other one is a simpler web-based WebGL version. All game functionalities are available through both versions, but the first one will need a gaming-capable PC to run.
A Glimpse of Star Atlas
The Star Atlas: Showroom demo merely provides a teaser of what the projected complete game experience offered by Star Atlas will be like. In truth, the actual game promises to be so much more than the typical NFT-based games of today. Major games usually take time to develop, and in Star Atlas’ case, Wagner sees another five or six years to build the game fully.
Still, according to Wagner, the Showroom launch is indicative of the incremental release schedule that game developer ATMTA, Inc. is aiming for. Even the Showroom demo will have more features before the year ends. By the end of 2023, there are plans to release a complete “vertical slice” of the game, typically a limited but entirely functional chunk of gameplay showing what the full game should be like.
“We still have a long road ahead,” he said. “But the idea is to continuously release these iterative features so that you’re constantly getting more engagement.”
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