ICP Squad Development Update: Introducing The ICP Squad Neuron

ICP Squad Development Update: Introducing The ICP Squad Neuron
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

If you’ve been following our project, you’ve been able to see some beautiful artwork updates! However, we also have other exciting updates to share involving improved gameplay design and progress with development.

Gameplay Improvements

Since announcing the details of our gameplay, we’ve identified some weak aspects of the game design and have made improvements to address them.

1. Infrequent rewards

Accessories are the rewards sent to players, but they need to stay rare as a proportion of the active players to remain valuable. This means we need to make sure their inflation is limited. If we send out too many rewards too quickly, we risk hurting the market value of accessories. When doing the math on this, we discovered that this could lead to infrequent rewards, which would limit the fun of the game. Rather than having only a handful of players earning precious rewards, we needed a way to allow a large number of players to earn a wide range of rewards without the risk of over-inflating the accessory supply. By increasing the distribution and frequency of rewards, we hope to increase the fun and overall value of owning an ICP Squad Character.

2. Circular Economy

Ultimately, with the current gameplay design, the value of ICP Squad NFT assets is based on how many active players the game has and speculation. This is the situation for most NFT games (and most NFT projects in general), but we are thinking long-term and want to do better. We’d like to eventually have accessory ownership provide the perks of membership in a DAO. As a step in that direction, we’d like to have a way to pair ICP Squad NFT Accessories with the value of ICP tokens.

Improvement #1: Accessory Elements & Minting

In the previous design of the game, all rewards were fully functional accessories. In the game's new design, while full accessories are still sent out as rewards, most rewards will be “Accessory Elements,” which can be combined to create/mint full accessories.

Here’s the Accessory Element artwork:

This approach drastically improves the reward mechanism of the game!

For example, let’s assume that we can give away five accessories as rewards on a given day, and accessories have a floor price of $1,000. With the old gameplay, only five players could win rewards worth $1k+. With the new gameplay, 100 players could win rewards ranging from $15-$1k+. The same amount of value is sent out, and the maximum winnable value is the same, but more players would be involved, and the odds of being left entirely empty-handed are drastically reduced.

In addition, when combining Accessory Elements to mint an Accessory, we’ll be introducing a variable minting fee to give the market a way to regulate the supply of Accessories naturally. If the supply of accessories increases too fast or gets too high, the accessory minting fee will increase to discourage further minting. If the supply of accessories decreases too much, the accessory minting fee will reduce to encourage more minting. The most exciting thing about this minting fee is that it’ll be sent to something we are calling the “ICP Squad Neuron.”

Improvement #2: ICP Squad Neuron

In the old gameplay design, there’s a risk of a downward spiral during bear markets. Since the primary purpose of buying accessories is to win more valuable accessories, if expectations turn negative during an NFT bear market, that could crash the value of ICP Squad NFT accessories. All NFTs have this risk.

In the new gameplay design, accessories help you passively earn ICP rewards from the maturity of an ICP Squad Neuron. If the supply of active players wearing accessories decreases, the remaining players get a larger share of the ICP Squad Neuron maturity and are therefore encouraged to remain longer. This ties the value of Accessories to the value of ICP and gives the perfect defense against a downward spiral during market swings!

How it works

All Accessory Minting Fees are sent directly to the ICP Squad Neuron, which is locked with an eight-year dissolve delay. On a regular basis (most likely weekly), the maturity from this Neuron is spawned and distributed to all active players who have an accessory equipped on their character.

The share of ICP given to each player is determined by their ranking over that applicable time period, which, like with normal rewards, is determined by their character properties and amount of activity on the Internet Computer (with twice as much weight given to activity). Unlike with normal rewards, it’s not a random lottery. Every player who has a character wearing an accessory gets a non-zero share of the ICP Squad Neuron maturity.

Since non-legendary accessories wear out over time, new accessories must be continually minted. Those minting fees will continue to grow the size of the ICP Squad Neuron. This means that over enough time, whether the number of active players remains the same or grows significantly, the value of ICP sent to accessory holders will continue to increase along with the size of the ICP Squad Neuron.

Development Progress

Artwork Development

ICP has hired Seb Thuillier full-time, and Motoko School will now become part of the ICP Squad suite of services! We’re still on track to meet our deadline of mid-December for dropping the artwork and launching character minting. In addition, we will also be able to launch Accessory Elements and Accessory Minting during December.

We already have working NFTs created! Unfortunately, we can’t give our NFTs the ability to be tradeable on Entrepot until the feature that allows canisters to hold ICP is enabled. This is also on track for December, so everything is coming together.

It’s important to note that these are incredibly innovative NFTs, and completion will be a considerable achievement. We're making something incredible that's never done before with NFTs. We aren't just making art; we are creating an algorithm for generating dynamic, interchangeable, and flexible community art, which will eventually be made up of elements of many different artists.

These are some of the unique aspects of our NFTs:

  • ICP Squad characters will be the first user-customizable NFTs on the Internet Computer.
  • ICP Squad accessories will be the first NFTs to deliver ICP rewards, and they will also be the first perishable NFTs that wear while worn.
  • Characters will have many different unique head shapes and colors.
  • We’ll be using dynamic layering logic across multiple canisters to make it so that any character can wear any accessory, even across different artwork seasons.
  • Shadows, highlights, and transparent objects like glass will layer over each other realistically.

Gameplay Development

We are still on track to launch the MVP gameplay during Q1 2022. Leading up to the MVP, we are planning lotteries and other fun features to add value to holders and early supporters of this project!

To build the ICP Squad NFT project into everything it can be, we’ll need to hire additional developers. If you’re an Internet Computer developer looking to get involved, please fill out our contributor form.

We also realize that there is a severe talent shortage for developers on the Internet Computer, but many people want to learn. If you are interested in learning how to develop applications on the Internet Computer, please fill out this form, and we’ll let you know of any upcoming educational opportunities.

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