Deep Dive: CropBytes - Gamifying a sustainable metaverse — one farm at a time.
A deep dive into this 4-year-old Web3 game, that holds the vision of building an economic model, where gamers can play and earn by building / owning a crypto farm and growing a sustainable metaverse.
2011: I got a Facebook invite from my mom to join Farmville.
At first, I thought it was a joke or perhaps an unintentional error on her part, whilst exploring the platform. But when I asked her about it, she couldn’t stop raving about the game. I was quite surprised, tbh.
My mom never posted a thing on Facebook, she detested the platform to the extent that she never wished people on their birthdays on the social media platform as she preferred to call or wish them in person. But somehow, she thought it was socially acceptable to send Farmville invitations to people, to join her in building a personal digital farm.
Despite my cynicism towards such gaming formats (I was more into first-person shooter, Battle Royale games), I gave in and was addicted from the get go.
Creating your own little universe and nurturing it became almost an obsession. “I always wanted to have my own farm,” my mom used to tell me and since then I often wondered, and even discussed this with her, how awesome it would be to reap the game results in real life as well.
Cut to 2022: I discover CropBytes.
Although, a part of the Crypto gaming revolution since 2018 (it completed 4 successful years on 28th April, 2022), CropBytes is beginning to garner a lot more interest within the crypto gaming community.
The game dynamics are based on the real-world farming economy — where you play, own and earn assets inside of a game and use them to provide goods and services to other players or trade them in the market. This creates real value in the virtual world through gaming by transforming traditional game economics to make it easier for anyone to play and earn.
The P2E (PlayToEarn) phenomenon.
Before we deepdive into CropBytes, one needs to understand the PlayToEarn (P2E) phenomenon that has taken the gaming industry by storm, all thanks to the crypto revolution.
P2E has allowed gaming enthusiasts to turn their gaming hours into a mode of earning and investment.
Usually, when you choose to play a game, you’d first purchase it to gain access on your device and then spend even more on upgrades — weapons, gear, cards, etc. Say after a few months you decide to quit that game and move on to the next big thing. What you lose in the process is your time, money and effort. And all the upgrades you purchased have no real value, since you don’t actually own them.
Now, compare this to an NFT game scenario, much like CropBytes, where you don’t just spend on upgrades, you earn them. The key difference is that you own those items which are of limited quantity and in most cases those items can exist and are deemed valuable even outside of the said game.
Let’s say, for example, there’s a gamer who goes by the pseudonym SuperTramp. He purchases a Thor-like hammer in a game as an NFT. Ownership of that hammer is tracked on the blockchain and SuperTramp is the rightful owner of the hammer until it is sold or traded. The game could literally shut down and SuperTramp would still own that NFT Hammer in his wallet. He can also stake or sell that item in the marketplace for real world dollars. Even if he decides to quit playing that game and sell all his upgrades, odds are the assets have increased in value and he could actually make good money on that sale. This is just one of the many probable scenarios of the P2E mechanism.
Another way of looking at it is in the form of investments.
SuperTramp, like many other gamers, is known to invest his time and money on securing NFT items of his favourite games. He holds his inventory until more users jump in the game, which causes a rise in the demand of the available upgrades which can then be sold at a higher price. This way, he eventually ends up making more than he actually spent on acquiring these items.
However, like any other investment, it is wise to be wary of the risk involved. One could devote all their time to earning NFTs but could face a staggering loss if the game turns out to be a damp squib. Here’s looking at you, CyberPunk.
It is also interesting to know that SuperTramp may never actually play the game, and still make passive income by investing in the NFT items.
This is often known as ‘Drops’ or exclusive, limited edition ‘Loot Boxes’ that are made available for a short period of time for interested users to chime in and invest. Halo and Nike x RTFKT drops are a few examples that have seen tremendous traction in the community. In this scenario, if SuperTramp is granted access to the loot, he can merely collect these items and perhaps choose to sell the hype to others who are rather bullish on the game.
The rewards definitely exist; so does the risk because the market has only just boomed, not matured. Case in point: the biggest success of the crypto gaming world, Axie Infinity being robbed of ~$625million. Hackers infested the Ronin blockchain on which the game was hosted. Of course, with the advent of new tech interfaces, measures are being taken to protect user funds and build systems which are robust and secure. The risk-to-reward ratio see-saws either way, so it is always wise to tread with caution.
Like Axie Infinity, there have been a bunch of successful gaming NFT projects that have seen the light of day — Silks, Gods Unchained, Chosen Ones, to name a few — and there are some other interesting ones making steady headwind.
Much like CropBytes.
Now that we’ve fairly understood the core of P2E, let’s deepdive into each and every aspect of this fascinating world of CropBytes.
The vision of CropBytes is to give every crypto gamer the power to build and own their crypto farm and grow this sustainable metaverse. In order to make this feasible, their five-fold mission statement comes into play;
1. Create real wealth by encouraging more users to join the platform — as the old adage goes: the more the merrier and in this case as the community strengthens, the in-game market stabilises.
2. Transform CropBytes into a primary source of income for players and gamers.
3. Empower and Educate those who are wary about the crypto universe. So, apart from enjoying the game, one can also get to learn the buying/selling mechanism of the crypto trading market without any fear or intimidation from external sources.
4. Build a robust community of crypto gaming enthusiasts and nurture the platform.
5. Enable value creation to an extent that it becomes the largest virtual universe in existence.
How does the mission statement translate into the game?
CropBytes game economy mirrors the real world. This means it is volatile, transitional and requires collective participation, which eventually leads to a strong community engagement between players, thereby defining the core of the game dynamics.
For instance, creators of the game have no control whatsoever on any secondary/market pricing. Players have complete control on making or breaking the in-game economy model, keeping the price in check basis the demand:supply ratio, making it truly decentralized.
Players can adopt various strategies within the game. One could either choose to purchase and trade farm crops or raise barn animals or even HODL assets which see a spike in value over time. Primarily, one could choose to be one of the four types of players;
1. Farmers: who essentially nurture farms and grow their own CBX (explained in the next section of this piece) portfolio.
2. Traders: who buy and sell material from farmers to owners and vice-versa, in turn deriving profits.
3. Owners: who own multiple farm lands and equipment. They hire workers to carry out farming activities.
4. Farm workers: who work on farms, owned by other players, to earn wages.
What is CBX and how does CropBytes accentuate P2E?
CBX is a multi-utility based, in-game currency used as a medium of exchange. These tokens can be generated only by the players, who can in turn use them to purchase and trade more digital assets. CBX is integrated into the various economic cycles of the game. Take for example, you’ve raised a bunch of sheep in your farm and received an extract from them. These extracts could easily be converted into CBX tokens, which can be then used to trade more assets and / or collectibles or furthermore even generate returns in crypto via conversions.
CropBytes is extending the viability of the CBX tokens so that players get the flexibility to use these tokens for various interoperable purposes (all of which will be explained in detail a little further ahead in the piece), whilst keeping the mode of payment and settlement between participants convenient and secure.
Currently, the in-game currency is Tron(TRX) and Game Coins(GC), which is soon to undergo a migration to eventually become CBX or CropBytes token instead.
CropBytes offers a free trial pack for new users, to try out the game before investing. These assets are available only for a limited period of time as they expire a few days after you complete the sign up process.
One can simply deposit TRX into the game wallet and buy starter packs or assets from the in-game exchange. Unless, you already have a TRX wallet or an exchange wallet with TRX, in which case, you can directly transfer the funds to your CropBytes wallet.
As per the CropBytes whitepaper, early adopters will receive 1.12 CBX for every GC they hold and a special airdrop of 1.68 CBX per GC will be made available to the farmers over a period of 15 months from the date of the IEO (Initial Exchange Offering). The unlock period is expected to be over a period of four years.
As mentioned earlier, CBX is an integrated token that is core to the economics of the game. Hence, it allows players not just to purchase game assets but even trade and mine them through a mix of FTs and NFTs. There are six types of assets that in-game players can purchase;
Essential assets: like seeds to grow crops, feed and water for farm animals.
Farming assets: like farmland and trees — required to grow crops and fruit, which in turn can be converted to feed animals.
Animals: From a Highland Cow to a Pygmy Cream Goat, there are 19 unique animals in the CropBytes metaverse. Each consume a different amount of feed and water and also produce different extracts. These animals need to be fed daily, in order to ensure they keep producing extract. Failing to do so, will result in a loss of their health.
Pro Animals: Billy Brown, Black Pumba, Ham Hock and more. These come with a unique set of extracts as well which is required to make Breed Feed, which helps breed superheroes.
Superhero NFTs: Think of these, not just as collectibles but as limited edition assets. Super Sunny, Green, Healer and more come with Captain Planet-esque powers, to help boost your farm’s output and fuel your earnings
Buildings: There are three types of buildings — Utility assets, Superhero house and Feed Mill.
6.1: Utility assets: These are technically used to generate water and power. The former to grow crops and fruits and the latter to power the production and supply chain. Players can upgrade / downgrade their utilities that range from wind turbines, lake houses and solar panels.
6.2: Superhero house: This space is essential for superheroes to rest, breed and use their superpowers. Each house comes with one room that can house two superheroes. Capacity of the superheroes increases in multiples of two when an extra house is added to the land.
6.3: Feed Mills: Players who own mills receive a grinding fee from other players, who use their mill for grinding crops.
Let’s explore the specific fundamentals of the above mentioned assets and sub-assets.
Imagine a real-world scenario, where you need to build and sustain a farmland.
You will first need land and then the essential items like seeds and water to grow crops and trees, feed for the animals and for trading purposes so as to ensure the cycle of production and supply is self-sustainable.
This cycle present in the real-world is re-created in the CropBytes economy.
Starting with the croplands that come in three available dimensions — Small, 1x1 and 4x3 — each of them, basis the available space can house the Corn and Carrot yield. For instance when you plant seeds, in the real world, it takes a certain amount of time to grow the crop, similarly in the game as well there is a set time-frame for the process of growing Corn (36 hrs) and Carrot (120hrs).
Water, which is used to grow crops and feed animals, can either be purchased from other in-game players or generated from wells and lake-houses that a player needs to build within the constraints of the game mechanics. Water is also used by trees to grow fruits like Apples, Bananas and Oranges. Just like crops, each fruit requires a certain amount of water and time to yield specific results.
Elaborated in the chart below 👇
Harvested crops and fruits on the farmland go through the grind to generate subsequent feed. There are four types of Feed — Corn Feed, Carrot Feed, Fruit Feed and Breed Feed.
While the process of each feed is the same, i.e. Grinding, the consumption occasion and the consumers vary. For instance, weekday (Monday-Saturday) consumption patterns are seen by Animals consuming Corn Feed while Pro Animals and Superheroes consume Carrot Feed. Fruit Feed is the Sunday speciality consumed by all — Animals, Pro Animals and Superheroes. Breed Feed is a special concoction prepared by mixing a variety of extracts consumed only by Superheroes, specifically during the breeding phase.
The grinding process of Feed takes place in Feed Mills. Players can either own these mills or pay other players a grinding fee to use them in order to grind their harvest.
Now, you have a farm with corn and carrot yield, water to grow crops and trees that reap fruits. You have mills that grind your harvest to create feed for the animals. But, what is powering this seamless cycle of farming symphony?
For utility generation, like Water and Power — the former used for growing crops, fruits, feeding animals and the latter to run the mills — there are assets that can be collected periodically whilst playing the game. These can be upgraded and downgraded as per the player’s requirement.
While you take good care of your farmland, do not forget about the Animals and Pro Animals. They play a crucial role in keeping a fine balance in the CropBytes metaverse.
19 unique Animals and 9 Pro Animals, each producing different extracts that can be used for various purposes like trading with other players or expanding your own farm.
Although, your farm animals need to be fed daily. Failure in doing so, players can see a drastic loss in health of their animals. 5% on weekdays and 10% on Sundays, to be specific. Animals stop producing extract if their health is below 80%.
From Animals like Highland Cow to a Pygmy Cream Goat and Pro Animals like Billy Brown, Black Pumba, Ham Hock and more — each of these consume a different amount of feed and water and produce different extracts. Pro Animals come with a unique set of extracts required to make Breed Feed which helps breed Superheros.
Who doesn’t like the sound of ‘Superheroes,’ eh?
As we briefly touched upon at the beginning of this section, these Superhero NFTs aren’t just collectibles, they bring utility to the table which can boost your farm’s output and subsequently cause a spike in your earnings.
There are six of such Superhero NFTs (male and female), who yield unique powers that can be beneficial, if used wisely. For example; let’s just say you forgot to feed your Pygmy Cream Goat on two consecutive Sundays, due to which you see a loss in its health. However, a sticky situation such as this can be averted if you have the SuperSunny or the Bloosm Superhero NFT, both of which will automatically feed your animals and ensure their health is in check. And if you hold the Healer Superhero NFT, it will ensure your animal recovers quicker than usual.
There are other Superheroes as well. Like WaterL, who helps increase water production in lakes and wells, Green helps in boosting crop production and Chichu who boosts power generation from solar panels and wind turbines.
Superheroes also require daily water consumption, Carrot Feed (Monday-Saturday) and Fruit Feed on Sundays.
For living and breeding purposes, there is something called the Superhero House, which can be purchased by players using CBX. These houses can be upgraded and downgraded, as per their levels.
To further elaborate — in order to upgrade, players need to first place their Level 1 house on their farmland and to upgrade further they need to place another house, so on and so forth. To downgrade a house, Superheroes need to be vacated from the rooms. Once empty, the house can be sent back to your inventory, one level at a time.
See below 👇
What about Superhero babies?
From six of the Gen 0 Superheroes, three are male — Super Sunny, Chichu, Green and three are female — Bloosm, WaterL, Healer. Each pair, that the player chooses to breed, will give a different Superhero baby as there are nine types of Gen1A and eighty-one types of Gen1B Superheroes in the CropBytes metaverse. All that a player needs for the breeding process to be successful is;
1. A Gen 0 male and a female Superhero.
2. A Superhero house.
3. Breed Feed.
Although, there are certain rules that one needs to follow in order to ensure a glitch-free breed;
During the breeding process, four Breed Feed is required by the pair.
Two days to breed Gen 1A and twenty-eight days to breed a Gen 1B Superhero.
Three extra days are added for each day missed.
Breeding cannot be paused or stopped once started.
Superhero houses deployed on your farm or listed in trading can’t be used for breeding.
Assets and Superheroes locked in breeding, cannot be listed for trade.
CBX Mining — Phase One.
CBX mining will enable players to generate a new supply of game assets. However, they will first need to own a unit of the asset, which won’t produce extracts or utilities immediately, as it will be locked in staking during that period of time. Moreover, network difficulty will be added as well to cap the supply of asset mining.
CBX will also allow mining Pro Animals like Plopper, Atilla X and Y, Black Pumba, Ham Hock and more. These Pro Animals will help players in the production of unique extracts, which are required to make Breed Feed (consumed by Superheroes during breeding).
Additionally, mining of the six Gen 0 Superhero NFTs will be possible as well with each of them available at the price of 18000CBX.
What do we know, what have we learnt?
With CropBytes, your goal as a player is to become a farming tycoon. You start with free trial assets and / or buy starter packs and other crypto assets from the market to take your farming business to the next level. Play daily to provide goods and services. Grow a variety of crops and fruits and harvest them to make food for your animals or make returns by trading them. Feed animals to collect produce like milk, eggs and more and then convert animal products to TRX, Game Coins (GC) or to the in-game digital economy — CBX. These Game coins can be further used in many ways — like buying NFTs and / or pro assets to further boost your farms output. In-game superhero NFTs can also be used for breathing more life into your crypto portfolio.
From growing crops and fruits, grinding and trading (players in the CropBytes metaverse has an open marketplace where they can trade their assets, utilities, and produce), CropBytes is a thorough and highly engaging game model. Each facet of the game is so detailed that one needs to have a clear strategy to survive and prosper. For instance, if you choose to grow oranges, you need 10x water to grow 2 orange fruits and it takes 24 hours to harvest it. Or another instance is the feeding mechanism for farm animals. Each time the player misses out on feeding the animal, their health is deducted by a certain percentage.
Full props to the creators on the detailing, however it might be a double-edged sword for many. The ethos of the game will ensure engagement but it might just tire the player with an information overload.
Largely, though it’s certainly an experience to be experienced. As it doesn’t just allure you for the gaming piece but also gives you a basic hands-on view into the crypto market scheme of things, tbh.
This time I’m going to send an invite to my mom to join this game. She can finally have her own farm and mint it too.