INTERVIEW: 8 CIRCUIT STUDIOS - Building a Launchpad to the Metaverse

September 7, 2019
INTERVIEW: 8 CIRCUIT STUDIOS - Building a Launchpad to the Metaverse

All gamers that are interested in blockchains and cryptocurrencies, here's the mashup of the two, something that hasn't really, adequately been done before. 8 Circuit Studios is currently developing a game called Project Genesis, and GameBuz had a chance to do an interview with them and give you the insight into what this project is all about.

GameBuz - What inspired you to start your own game development company back in 2017, and how did you decide to orient it towards blockchains?

James Mayo - We love telling stories through the medium of video games. We have also been passionate about the potential and promise of blockchains and cryptocurrency, especially as a new technology to help usher in a living metaverse. Most of us on the team have been in game development for fifteen years or more and love being a part of a very innovative and fast-moving industry.

Gamers have been using digital currency for almost as long as there have been video games, which means they have likely already developed an intuitive understanding of how to use cryptocurrency. So we created 8 Circuit Studios to join these two universes together – games and blockchains to build the launchpad to the Metaverse.

GameBuz - How would you explain to our younger readers what Metaverse, blockchains, and blockchain games are?

James Mayo - Blockchains are basically a novel way to create something like a public hard drive. You'll hear a lot about the cryptocurrency because that is the first popularized use, but they also open up the ability for gamers to store their stuff on a blockchain, and access it from anywhere, and eventually in any game that is designed to use them. This capability is actually a super-power that is necessary to build a "metaverse". Metaverses are digital realities like you've seen in the Matrix, or books like Neuromancer by William Gibson or Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

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The first blockchain game they developed was Alien Arsenal: Battle for the Blockchain. I've noticed it's not available on Play or App Store anymore, so I was wondering what happened to it and if they're ever going to bring it back.

James Mayo - That is correct. Our lovable aliens had to go back to their homeworlds after their mission was completed. Alien Arsenal: Battle for the Blockchain was a great opportunity for players to get their hands on a mobile blockchain game. It helped us discover and work around some challenges presented by connecting games to blockchains.

We also learned how to work with Apple to navigate their certification process, since blockchain games were relatively new to them at the time. We hope to bring Alien Arsenal back to mobile with an upgraded game engine, but for now, we're focusing one hundred percent of our attention on our flagship title Project Genesis.

GameBuz - Project Genesis was always your main priority. How hard was the development so far? When do you think the game will be ready for publishing?

James Mayo - Game development is almost always hard! In fact, we had to reboot Project Genesis about a year ago because my brilliant idea of making a 3D rogue-like space game wasn't so brilliant. However, once we prototyped mashing up third-person space combat with close quarters FPS play, we got pretty excited. That said, working with veteran game developers makes the job of game development way easier and fun.

We're considering partnering with a publisher, but we are also really passionate about developing Project Genesis hand in hand with our community. That means we may decide to self-publish with our community's support. If we do self-publish, we hope to be able to have a general release in late 2020. However, we're already starting to open up our playtests, so if you want to get in on the action super early now is a really great time.

I was surprised when I saw that they made their Trello board for Project Genesis public. It's great that people can see how the game is coming together, step by step, but I wanted to know if that decision brought them any benefits.

James Mayo - Absolutely! The biggest benefit is being able to be open and transparent with where we are at in game development. It is crucial for us to keep our community, or anyone interested, informed because we live on informed feedback. This informed feedback helps guide our decisions on what features to focus on next and give us an understanding of which features may not be as important to spend time on.

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GameBuz - What was the most challenging problem you had to deal with so far, regarding the game making and publishing?

James Mayo - The biggest challenge is building the infrastructure needed to connect games to the blockchain and to regularly release playtest builds to our community as a part of our "open kitchen" development. It's quite technical, and frankly a bit boring, unless you're a Producer, Release Manager, or maybe Engineer. However, this infrastructure is crucial, so we just have to roll up our sleeves and get it done.

GameBuz - What is the most rewarding part of working in the Gaming Industry?

James Mayo - There are two related answers to this question, I think. For me, the first answer is working with highly creative and technical people to put a commercially viable work of art into the hands of an audience. The second answer is having that audience enjoy and, hopefully, love the art we created.

GameBuz - Do you have any advice for young developers entering the Gaming Industry, or would like to try making blockchain games for the first time?

James Mayo - I would say start playing with the technology in your area of interest or curiosity as soon as possible. Watch tutorials on YouTube or Twitch, and maybe even start making some explainer videos yourselves. Build relationships with other people who are following their passions by participating in communities on your favorite social media platforms (Reddit, Facebook groups, Art Station, forums, etc.). As you level up your skills, you'll become more attractive to prospective employers or potential teammates.

GameBuz - Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

James Mayo - Thanks for asking! If you, or your readers, think that a genre mashup of frenetic space combat and claustrophobic FPS is your kind of game, we'd love to have you join our Discord or sign up on www.projectgenesis.com to participate in our regularly scheduled playtests. We're also up on Steam, so you can follow along on our development there too. Much obliged for your time, everyone!