Business

RedShield Games Takes Gaming to the New Frontier of Web3

In RedShield Games, you play as a group of survivors that are trying to make sense of a post-apocalyptic world.

Nov 18, 2022 | By Joseph Low

Hi Wayne, congratulations on your latest project developments! I heard that you were born in Malaysia, so what spurred you to come to Singapore and what were your formative years like? Also, how did those experiences mould you into the successful entrepreneur you are today?

W: I had spent most of my childhood years in a kampong (village) in Malaysia. Back in those days there weren’t many toys to go around, so that taught us to be creative with things. I remember drawing up and designing my own card game based on the popular manga Dragon Ball Z for my brother to play with while waiting for the holidays to come where we can play the actual video game (laugh).

Little did I know fate had led me to study game design years later. After finishing secondary school, I moved over to stay in Singapore with my mother, who is a Singaporean. I then became a permanent resident, and that resulted in me needing to serve national service in Singapore for two and a half years. This experience changed my life trajectory considerably as the very first stint I had was an intrapreneurship opportunity in the Officer Cadet School (OCS). The commanding officer agreed to give me a S$7K budget to form a team from scratch to build a game to train the cadets. It was a fun experience and the satisfaction of delivering a solution was second to none. This then led me to venture into business very early on in my life. 

Hey Nikitha, I heard that you guys have been working together for close to 10 years before co-founding this venture. And I heard you grew up in Dubai. What is your story? How did you get involved in entrepreneurship in the first place?

N: I was born and raised in Dubai. I did my schooling there and led a lot of life seeing what it was like to be an outsider in a country I so wanted to call home. From then on, I wanted to have better control on what I wanted to do in life and own what I do. We used to go to the beach or park for picnics with friends and family. I used to always end up being the one planning and organising games and activities for the entire group. So my relationship with games had started much before I could even recall. Every time I came up with a game, I would force my friends and family members to try them out!

When I first learnt programming in school, it felt special to have the power to not just think of an idea anymore but to actually have a means to create it and let people play and give feedback on it. When I met Wayne years ago, what excited me the most was seeing someone with the same vision and passion for games and the ability to change things around. I wanted to be in a space where my ideas and thoughts would be heard and where I could make a difference really! Starting out as a programmer, I made my way up to becoming a partner and ultimately co-founding RedShield Games! All along the motive was to do work that matters! 

I heard that a female CTO is quite rare in the industry, especially at such a young age like yourself. Can you maybe inspire some of our audiences here and give them some background on what it takes to be successful as a CTO in the game industry?

N: Some might say age is just a number. But, unfortunately people do tend to make judgements on just that number. That’s a sad fact. I think being young means having to prove yourself twice as much. Know your facts, be aware of what you bring to the table and know how to present yourself! Personally, I do not regret starting out young. It just makes more sense, you have more time to learn, make mistakes, start over if needed. You have to be mentally strong to overcome obstacles that you may face as you go along.

Of course, you need to know your stuff and be skilful at what you do. But if you do not have the mental capacity to endure the pressure and challenges, you will not be able to go all the way. What I would say is extremely important is do not go down this road alone. Find a mentor, friends, partners or fellow entrepreneurs with similar goals in mind to talk to. There might be days when you want to give up and walk away and these are the times you most need those encouraging words or ideas from the people around you. So you need to find the right peers to surround yourself with for growth and success. Being female and being young, people do sometimes tend to ignore you but I like to use these two very characteristics to my advantage and draw people’s attention. Don’t let it become your weakness, but find a way to turn it around and make it your strength. Lastly, don’t be afraid of difficult situations, think of ways to resolve it and you will end up becoming a better version of yourself.

From what we know, RedShield Games is a turn-based strategy game that makes use of blockchain technology. Can you elaborate more on what the game is about?

In RedShield Games, you play as a group of survivors that are trying to make sense of a post-apocalyptic world. Each of these survivors (we call them Champions in the game) has been tainted by biological contaminants brought about by the nuclear fallout, which granted them special abilities at the cost of their humanity. Each champion has their unique skill set and a randomised skill tree, making every one of them unique in their own way. Your goals in the game are simple, which is to gather as many allies and resources you can find and to strengthen them, so that you can advance the story plot and find out what are the events leading up to the apocalypse. One of our top priorities is to ensure that we have an engaging storyline and a compelling backstory for each of our champions, so that players can be immersed in the rich lore of our game for at least 40 hours. In addition to that, players will also be able to pit their champions against other players in the game and stand to win attractive seasonal prizes. This opens up another dimension to our game, and gives players the opportunity and motivation to develop unique strategies and shine in a competition of skills and wits.  

Sounds truly exciting! We have learnt that a great deal of attention has been paid to the designing of the game. What are the unique selling points for RedShield Games?

First of all, our game lore is based on a genre called realistic fiction. This is a genre of stories where although the events are made up, there is a possibility that they could happen in real life. Hence our stories and character design take a lot of references from real-life historical facts, but with an added sci-fi spin. If you are someone that likes to play games with a fully integrated storyline, and loves to find easter eggs in games — this will be a game for you. 

Secondly, the game emphasises a lot on strategy and tactics. Every champion is designed to be different, with each having its own unique attributes. This gives players a lot of room to experiment and customise their builds, which will really put their skills to the test. The more a player plays and develops a champion, the more valuable it will be. 

Last but not least, our game is designed with serious gamers in mind. Unlike many of the other Web3 games which are casual and simplistic, RedShield Games has significantly more depth in terms of its game mechanics and storyline, which we believe are what makes a truly fun and challenging game, so enter at your own risk!

I understand that the champions exist as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) within RedShield Games. What purposes do NFTs serve in the game in general?

Blockchain technology and the use of NFTs enable us to create novel game experiences that weren’t possible before. The following points highlight some key differences:

  1. True ownership: By representing a game asset as an NFT on a blockchain, its ownership is inscribed onto the chain itself. The immutable nature of blockchains means that not even the game studio is able to transfer the asset and take them away from its current owner. This represents a fundamental change in the relationship between players and game studios, with each player becoming more like a partner rather than a customer. Players now have a vested interest in the project and are incentivised to make the game better by contributing in various ways, since this means the game assets they own will appreciate in value as well. 
  2. Value creation: Through playing the game, players create value when the champions they own have their attributes improved. They then have the freedom to exchange this for something else of equal value through a decentralised marketplace. This means that players who want to change their builds halfway can swap their champions for something else easily and not let their prior efforts go to waste. 
  3. Interoperability: Another unique feature of NFTs is that anyone is free to create new games or uses for them, like dedicated game fans or even the other game studios. As such, their value can be compounded the more use cases they have, at the same time transcending the lifetime of any one game. Our dream is that one day, players will be able to use their champion NFTs to access a variety of games in our RedShield Universe as well as in other gaming projects, making their ownership of these NFTs an exciting and rewarding experience.

What are the challenges of launching a Web3 game? What is the critical path to success?

The first challenge we faced is to ensure that whatever we set out to do is legally compliant, which is not an easy task given the lack of clarity in terms of the regulations around crypto in general. After that we spent months working out an in-game economic model that fits the game mechanics. Next comes the game design, character design, their artwork and narratives, among other things. At the same time we needed to figure out the whole technology stack that is required to bring the project to completion, as well as how to build a sustainable in-game economy. It is a melting pot of ideas and required knowledge across various domains, with everyone having to work in unison to put all the things together. Game development is challenging as it is, and putting a blockchain on top of that makes it even more so. After all that is said and done, it’s only half the battle. At the end of the day, it is still a piece of creative work and it takes a team of determined and resilient artists in this case to turn the shared vision into reality. You have to love what you do, if not it’s very hard to find the motivation to carry you through. 

We feel that the most critical factors lie with the product and the community. The game itself being the product needs to be top-notch in terms of the enjoyment it provides, as that is the player’s primary objective for playing it. With that as the basis, the next important thing will be its marketing, where we need to consider how to spread word about our game at the most efficient cost possible.

When it comes to Web3 games, the importance of the community cannot be overstated. Through engaging players on platforms like Discord, the project team actively seeks the opinions of the community on all things that are game related. This provides the crucial feedback needed to improve the game and when the players in the community know that they are being listened to, they are also more likely to stick around. You know a game is successful when it has a loyal and vibrant community that is willing to help each other out and promote the game on their own.  

We heard that there will be a main project token called RedShieldX (RSX). Please tell us more about its uses.

There are many utilities for the RSX token both inside and outside of our game. Activities such as the trading of in-game assets and certain game interactions will require RSX tokens. Besides that, the tokens will also be used for the governance, staking and project collaboration purposes. For example, we are currently in discussions with another crypto hardware company, to allow our tokens to be used for purchasing their hardware and services. 

Your team is focused on developing Web3 games and is familiar with the ecosystem surrounding it. What will be the key factors to accelerating the adoption of Web3 games across Asia?

The first generation of Web3 games were mainly developed or are being developed by the crypto community. Hence there has been a lack of focus on the gaming aspect of things. While most of these projects are revolutionary, they lack appeal for gamers. Things have been improving though, and I am seeing more emphasis being placed on game mechanic designs in the new upcoming projects. I believe when the industry starts releasing seriously fun Web3 games, their adoption will start to pick up. 

Tell us about the one-day event that your team had organised in Manila and how encouraging has been the reception by both gamers and investors?

The event was amazing. Almost everyone in Manila knows about Web3 games and are hyped up with the industry. Very little effort is required to educate the market. The community is vibrant, supportive and knows how to have fun! We had a blast!

It’s nice to know that they have been so welcoming! Why has the Philippines become a hotspot for Web3 games? Will Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand be the next hotspots?

Axie Infinity did a tremendously good job in the Philippines. At one point in time 40 per cent of Axie’s players were from the Philippines. According to The 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index, Vietnam ranked 1st, Philippines ranked 2nd and Thailand 8th in the overall index ranking. We believe that the Southeast Asian region is definitely the hotspot for Web3 games. We also foresee that our region will lead a lot of transformation and innovation in the crypto space.

You work closely with Native Capital, an investment and advisory firm. What has this collaboration brought you?

Coming from the gaming space, we have a lot of catching up to do in the crypto space. Native Capital has been a solid partner that worked with us side by side to ensure the success of our project. Native Capital knows their stuff and has been instrumental in bringing in the key advisors and strategic partners in the industry to help supercharge our growth. We look forward to continuing working with Native Capital to reach many milestones together. 

What are the next key milestones for RedShield Games?

We have been hard at work designing the game for seven months now. Our next key milestone is to release our playable beta to the gamers that have been eagerly waiting for it for some months now. Coming this far we have been very grateful for the Spartan Team (early supporters) that gave us the much needed feedback and support for our game. We are looking to scale up our testers program in the first quarter of next year. We are pretty excited to play the game ourselves too!

How many players are you targeting to reach by the end of 2023?

We target to get at least 50K daily active users by the end of 2023. 

What is your vision for the project in five years, i.e. 2028?

We really look up to a Canadian studio, Klei entertainment. It’s a relatively small setup with 35 employees but they have been consistently churning out innovative game titles that won the players over. They have some of the highest game ratings on Steam release after release. This is the kind of studio that we want to become. Small, agile and creative powerhouse that affects and inspires generations of players and game designers to come. 

What are the valuations like for Web3 game projects in general?

The industry is in a very early stage, but the numbers are staggering. For example, the studio behind Axie Infinity, Sky Mavis is valued at around US$3 billion with just a single 2D title! A unique aspect of Web3 projects is that it provides project founders a new way of raising funds, via the issuing of project tokens and other digital assets. This presents a very interesting opportunity for indie developers and smaller studios that play the long game, in my point of view. 

There is no doubt that a project like this will require a dedicated team to execute. Please tell us more about your team in this regard.

Indeed, for a game of our scale having a solid team is a must. The team that we have now is forged through a decade of working together and that has always been our secret sauce to success. Along the way, we have met with hundreds of people and have learnt that a teammate that we can trust is really hard to come by. We always look at the 3Is: Integrity, Intelligence and Intensity. Right now we are very proud to say that we have teammates that are willing to stick with us through rough times and still love what we do day in and day out. 

Last question: If you were to name one mentor who has influenced you in your career, who would that be?

Mike Koh, my first boss that taught me a lot about business and life when I was first starting out. 

RedShield Game is an open-world, turn-based RPG game that aspires to change how things are done in the gaming industry by leveraging on the unique attributes of blockchain technology. It is a community first, fueled by gamers, built for gamers project. To find out more about the project, visit their website at http://www.redshield.games/. Interested gamers can also join their discord channel at https://discord.gg/redshieldofficial to get the latest update on the project. 

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