- Protonauts are an on-chain NFT character experiment
- Stake to level up your character in real-time and equip items
- Item system completely hosted on a side-chain, for cheap equip/unequip transactions
- Items can adjust your characters stats or the rate you level up, as well as what your sprite looks like
- Items will be rewarded through various games, metaverse worlds, and challenges
- Future characters will be minted by burning a token airdropped periodically to Genesis holders
- There will only ever be 3,000 Genesis characters
The long version..
What are Protonauts?
Protonauts are a fully on-chain NFT experiment, testing the capabilities of cross-chain communication, interoperability, and on-chain permanence. Our goal is to provide value to users through mechanisms other than just scarcity, lower the barrier to entry for mass adoption in the long run, and give users something that will be functional and fun to use for as long as blockchains persist.
While there are a lot of projects focused on the metaverse “worlds”, we wanted to focus on the player and how a character might evolve and progress in between these new interoperable spaces. We wanted to get away from static profile pictures and give users a dynamic and ready-to-use sprite, stored on-chain, that can be altered and modified cheaply, while maintaining the security of Ethereum's layer one.
This approach, we believe, will open new avenues of creativity and thought, and give future metaverse and game developers the ability to curate a pre-existing (and intrinsically balanced) user base and utilize either a full or partial skill and equipment system to be used as building blocks to expedite game development time.
How does it work?
Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around “metaverses” and companies appearing to be in a race to create their own version of these worlds. We believe that this metaverse already exists, and is not necessarily any specific world, whether it be rendered in 2d or 3d, but rather the fabric in between the games, the digital assets, and the ability to prove ownership that created this metaverse first. It's already here.
We believe that the visual representation, or the user interface, will be dynamic and will change and evolve frequently as people iterate and improve on designs, builds, and as technology advances. Currently, these user experiences are with browser interfaces like Metamask and simple web apps, but could (and most likely will) take the form of virtual 2d and 3d worlds, as well as integrate in real-world areas through augmented and projected reality systems.
NFTs allow us to show ownership of a specific digital asset, which other developers in the same ecosystem can choose to honor in any other various ways (ie. Airdrops, Whitelists, etc), within or for their products. In games, this has been done to display art, avatars, or profile pictures with a quick click of a connect button. They do not have to utilize the exact NFT image that is shown on Opensea, but could potentially cherry pick specific values attached to the NFT's metadata instead. We believe that while we provide an on-chain image of our sprite, we do so as a base layer, and as more advanced interoperable worlds are developed, we will continue to deploy methods to evolve visually as well. At the core though, we will always be a collection that is intrinsically balanced, and will always have an on-chain image that can be integrated into a primitive 2d world.
While there are promising worlds and games arising every day, and we hope to integrate with as many of them as possible, we imagine that we can create simple browser based experiences and challenges for the community easily in the short term with this approach, and will do so while metaverse worlds become more robust.
The Ethereum Token
Users will mint a new token and be able to buy, sell and trade this how they normally would with any other NFT. The real functionality is unlocked through staking, which creates a direct copy of the NFT on the Polygon blockchain. Through this cross-chain oracle, users will be able to interact with their character, equipping various NFT items they will acquire as well as periodically accruing skill points. While the skill points that a character will earn are permanent, unstaking a character will burn the Polygon copy of your character and unequip all items. Your main ethereum token is then updated and can be traded or moved normally. In this unstaked state, characters will not receive periodic skill points, but it will allow the user to buy/sell/trade on Ethereum's mainnet.
The on-chain image of your character that you see, doubles as a 12 frame sprite-sheet. This image is stored as an encoded SVG image and is completely on-chain. We believe that while a token can be used to fetch higher quality images and sprite animations in a separate database, we wanted to provide a base sprite that could always be utilized and was as permanent as the blockchain itself.
Equipping items through Polygon also alters the appearance of your character. We alter the on-chain character sprite by laying the item's on-chain SVG over the top of your character's image. Static equipment stat modifiers are added to your character's base stats, and skill gain modifiers will affect a character's periodic stat gain. Users will then be able to use this updated sprite in-game, or wherever it is supported.
One element that we believe has been missing from NFT collections seen in metaverse worlds, is a way to balance interactions between the various collections. You own the token, but that token doesn't evolve or grow, and is limited in the scope of what it can be used for. Only recently have games like World Wide Webb allowed for NFT's outside of their own collections to be loaded into a mutual world. Popular metaverse games like Sandbox and Decentraland offer ways for creators to build assets that are specific to each world, but will most likely never be interchangeable with each other.
We wanted to attempt to create an interoperable standard for web3 game character stats that will persist outside of all of these worlds. We believe this will enable virtual worlds of all sizes to utilize our token's character stats, to quickly build and develop experiences for players and jump start these worlds with a large and pre-existing user base.
How do users receive value?
Historically, the majority of collections that we've encountered create value for users by creating hype and relying on scarcity in the collection. Outside demand creates buying pressure and if holders are bullish on the project, selling pressure is low and the floor of the collection rises. While having outside demand is good, and should increase as a project grows and becomes more popular, creating high garden walls and forcing new users to pay a high premium to join isn't really what web3 is about. At least in our opinion.
This is why we have thought about structuring our minting and character creation system differently, and not locking the collection to any specific cap, but limiting the amount of characters that can be minted at any given time, by airdropping a mint token to holders of our first 3,000 genesis characters on a periodic basis.
These genesis Protonaut NFTs will be limited to 3 per wallet. We believe this will help distribute control over the supply and price of the new character creation tokens, and help prevent any sort of collusion to fix prices.
These tokens will be used as a 1:1 mint key to create a new Protonaut NFT. Our thought process here is that initially the demand for these character creation tokens will be high, creating value for our early adopters as these can be freely traded on marketplaces, but as demand shrinks and players join, the creation of new token supply will push the price down, lowering the barrier to entry for new players.
Holders of the minting tokens can also choose to not sell at all, reducing the supply, and in a way, gives our holders the ability to regulate the influx and supply of new users.
The next area that we believe is untapped is creating value through character progression. Each Protonaut NFT will start with 4 basic character stat fields that we believe can be used best in an interoperable metaverse ecosystem. These 4 stats are:
These 4 basic stats will be periodically increased while the NFT is staked, essentially leveling up your NFT. This periodic leveling process is affected by modifiers, gained through item attributes, which will be covered in the following section.
We plan on creating metrics to monitor the overall collection's stat distribution, and create tools to allow developers to integrate our NFT's into their game seamlessly. This will allow the game to be tuned according to the developers desired “feel”, through a scalar modifier on one or all of the token's stats, or none of them at all.
To illustrate this better we provide 3 scenarios:
Game is a 2d platformer/side scroller, developer uses Protonaut on-chain sprite sheet as is, and the game uses all stat values with these modifiers:
- Health - 1 = 10
- (10x) stat weight for in-game character health
- To create a larger health pool for player characters
- Defense - 1 = 1
- (1x) stat weight for in-game character defense
- Small value as developer wanted in-game items to compliment in-game defense more
- Attack - 1 = 0.5
- (0.5x) stat weight for in-game character melee swing
- Reduce benefit of external attack power, developer wants in-game monsters to be harder to kill
- Magic - 1 = 5
- (5x) stat weight for in-game character magic abilities
- Developer wants magic abilities to be influenced heavier by Protonaut base stat/ wants abilities to hit harder
Game is a 3d bullet hell RPG, developer uses their own 3d assets, but the game uses Protonaut character’s Health and Attack in game to balance their world:
- Health - 1 = 100
- Game wants large health pool for their users
- Attack - 1 = 20
- Renamed in-game to Gun Power, used as a modifier to weapon damage of weapons you collect in-game, giving slightly more power to higher level Protonauts.
Game is a 3d adventure game with no combat, but the developer wants to bootstrap their game launch with a pre-existing player base and contribute/add to the ecosystem or distribute Protonaut items through their own ways:
- No stats, but having a Protonaut NFT and connecting to their world with it in your wallet could yield some benefit or reward items for completion of games/events/etc.
We plan on pioneering the way forward to create epic cross or multi-world quests and experiences, but like previously stated, plan on creating tools to allow others to follow our lead and contribute with us. Through these experiences, we plan to reward players with limited supply items that they can equip to their character and trade with other players, all at a low cost (covered in the next section). These items will modify how your character progresses and evolves by modifying the rate at which certain stats grow.
We hope this gives players a fun and personalized way to customize and build their character how they see fit, whether it be for the type of games that they use their NFT with or how the community implements them in the future. At first these values might seem arbitrary, but our plan internally, is to use certain stat requirements for future item drops, other item requirements, and have plans of implementing a collection wide leader board in regards to individual stat allocations and other ecosystem metrics.
Lastly, the value that is then returned to the user, are the levels that you accrue while your character is staked. When you unstake, all the levels you gained while staked are updated and are permanent. We assume that higher level characters will be sought after in the long run, similar to how max level characters in popular video games are usually the more valuable asset. The one difference is our leveling system is uncapped giving the potential for limitless additional value.
Layer 2 Item System
The final way we have envisioned creating value for users, is by giving holders access to a complete and equippable item system, that changes the visual representation of your on-chain SVG sprite, and effects character stats and periodic stat gains.
We wanted users to be able to interact with these items and equip and customize their character at a low cost, so we decided to move the entire system to Polygon which would allow us to keep the main NFT on ethereum, but open a bridge of communication between chains with an oracle based approach. These concepts are currently at the forefront of the space, and we believe they will continue to improve in the future. We will strive to utilize the best option available and make any necessary upgrades accordingly.
These items will be scarce in nature, being awarded to certain players for completing games, events, or any other numerous distribution methods that could be opened in the future. This will be handled by our team initially, but we plan on turning this item system outwards to the community to allow for further accessibility and give other developers the tools to create rewards systems in their games or metaverses.
Treasury, Funding, and the Future
While we aim for this project to be successful, we have figured out funding targets that we believe are altruistic, and give us the ability to freely work on this project over the foreseeable future, as well as align our incentives with the incentives of the community.
Therefore, we have scoped out 4 main revenue streams at launch:
Future Mints and Character Creation:
- We will be airdropping an ERC-1155 token to genesis holders each month, that they can then use to either create a new character, or sell/trade on a marketplace.
- Instead of collecting a mint cost for token id #3,0001+, we will take a royalty (10%) on all future egg sales, to again align our incentives with the mechanics of our system.
- Users will then use an egg to freely mint + gas a new Protonaut NFT.
- We want to give the holders of the original 3,000 characters the ability to control the future price of entry, as well as receive some sort of benefit for being an early adopter.
- We make no promises as to what the price of these will be in the future, and expect these eggs in the long-term to be near $0 as supply is uncapped.
- We hope as market dynamics play out, that supply will exceed demand in the long run, giving new players in the future a low point of entry.
- We believe this is pivotal for mass-adoption and future success of this ecosystem.
- Character progression is at the core of our ecosystem, and we believe this value should remain with the users of our ecosystem
- We will take a very small royalty on these sales (1%), to return as much value to the buyer and seller.
Layer 2 Items, Systems, and Future Games
- The last and pivotal part of our ecosystem are the items that users can use to customize and increase the power of their Protonaut NFT.
- Items will come from numerous sources as mentioned above.
- Players can equip, buy or sell their items on Polygon.
- Royalties will be collected on these sales at 2.5%.
We plan to allocate these royalties to a treasury, and use these funds to:
- Grow the Protonaut team, to further develop and build upon this project, and deliver more intricate and fun experiences to users.
- Mint future items.
- Any potential future contract upgrades.
- Any hosting costs for additional assets or games created by the Protonaut team.
- Cover other unforeseen expenses that may inhibit our development.
We want to be as transparent as possible when it comes to utilization of treasury funds, and will communicate with the community as often as we can. We structured our incentives to hopefully grow with the success of the collection and strength of the community, and plan to continue aligning our incentives in this way.
Future Plans and Ideas
Due to the intricate nature of this vision and the plan to build a well functioning organization to develop and create more experiences for players, we plan to stay relatively centralized in the short term, but will strive for decentralization in the long term as the project scales. We plan on taking in community feedback, and creating features to allow users to feel like their feedback is heard and appreciated, as well as work to implement features that the community as a whole are voicing.
We look towards systems such as Old School Runescape, where potential future features are voted on by the users, and we believe this creates a positive implementation strategy that the community can be a part of.
More on this in the future.
Another aspect that we believe is necessary for scalability and the longevity of the project, is opening the door for community created content in the long term. We have been creating tools that we believe are necessary to expedite creation and scale development of our ecosystem, and believe that these can also be turned outwards to the community, given thorough thought and consideration.
We want all aspects of our ecosystem to be enjoyable and put as little strain on the user as possible. To do this, we want to create easy-to-use systems that can be built off of, while giving creators as much freedom as possible. Doing all of this while maintaining the integrity of the collection is paramount and we plan to do so carefully, and at reasonable intervals.
More on this in the future.
- Polygon currently offers the most stable and secure oracle system, but we believe that other chains might out-compete in the future. If a better side-chain/L2 is available, we will consider migrating our item system to the chain that gives our users the best experience.