The First big Poll is Complete… Project Future Announcement

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Well here we are…

The project has had it’s trials, challenges, and delays…

Concerns were raised, we responded, learned, adapted, and improved communication.

We provided 5 options, ranging from “change nothing” to “give up, the project is a failure”, with a decent spectrum in-between.

We setup new communications channels, means of patrons getting involved, and voting to steer the outcome of the project.

We developed an entirely new way of voting on project outcomes via a communications channel like Discord, but integrated with the Blockchain, and allowing weighted voting based on users actual ERC20 token holdings to decide on outcomes.

We came up with new and exciting ways to revitalize the project.

Finally, the poll went live, and the path forward was determined…

And all of this happens by unfortunate coincidence during the most impactful global event in modern human history, the COVID19 Global Pandemic.

This post is to discuss what the final outcome of this process is, and what it means for the BattleDrome project going forward.

Before we get to the outcome, I wanted to repeat summarized versions of the options for everyone so we can see the context of what was being voted on.

Option A: Business as Usual

  • Nothing about the scope of the project changes
  • The project continues based on the original plan at a high-level
  • We will release Beta as planned
  • No refunds are issued to patrons
  • We keep up updated communication cadence and methods
  • We try to push to get done faster if at all possible. (best effort)
  • Following Beta a new plan will be released outlining more frequent “micro-releases” so that we can be more granular and more frequent
  • Estimated timelines for the micro-releases will be included in the plan
  • Funding Model stays un-changed, and the beta salary release is as-planned once Beta is released, but following Beta, we will do more small releases of salary/funds that coincide with the micro-releases in order to minimize the size of any fund releases, and risk to the project.
  • In an emergency (ie we can’t meet our proposed timelines within a reasonable margin, or I get hit by a bus), the project can continue by then mapping the micro-releases to bounties on the likes of Gitcoin for example.

Option B: Trim down scope, speed up release

This one is identical to (A) above, but with the following changes:

  • The scope gets reduced, in order to speed up final release of the project
  • We will remove the 3D Graphics Engine from the scope, this is a big chunk of work, and we have a working 2D web GUI which makes the game playable, but maybe not as flashy.
  • The 3D engine is essentially just UI, and can be added at any time later via open-source community.
  • We will add back some small scope items to fill in the void from the 3D engine, which will focus on driving more attention/users to the game, re-vitalizing the ecosystem, such as wrapping Warriors, Arenas and possibly Equipment in fully ERC1155 compliant tokens, making them transactable on the market as NFTs. Having a sale of Arenas, as ownable “Property” which allow events to take place, essentially “Real-estate”. Adding FAME Crates to the game via a fully decentralized Crate Store, etc.
  • Overall this will result in a smaller scope, and faster release, and instead of 1–2 very large features in the final phase, we now have 6–7 much smaller features, better fitting with the micro-release model.
  • This also should provide a much needed boost to the ecosystem overall.

Option C: Full OpenSource

In this model we depart from the original project structure/plan. And switch to a 100% open-source, community driven approach.

  • All code in it’s current state is immediately open-sourced.
  • The scope becomes controlled by the community
  • My role is reduced to “Maintainer”
  • All Responsibilities to “finish” development are released from here forward, since it’s now a “community responsibility”.
  • The pace of development depends on community contribution to development. This potentially greatly speeds up the project, but it also potentially greatly slows it down.
  • A portion of Developer Salary remaining in Escrow is sacrificed (specific amount to be negotiated, let’s say 50% for discussion right now). This sacrificed amount is NOT refunded to patrons, instead is used to fund community bounties to encourage and drive community developer involvement.

Option D: Cancel the project, but we first tidy up, and open-source it.

This is the first option involving a refund to patrons. In this option we accept defeat, but at least tidy up and release what we have to have some good come from it.

  • Beta still released as planned, and beta salary paid out at 50%, as it’s near enough to completion already. But after Beta we immediately close the project down, and call subsequent releases “cancelled”
  • Project code is cleaned up, and made open-source release ready. (fix some glaring issues, documentation cleaned up, etc).
  • The focus is no-longer on “finishing” but simply on releasing code that is workable/usable in the future perhaps.
  • The remaining 50% of beta salary, and all of the final phase of salary, as well as all remaining expense budgets after expenses, etc, are to be gathered up by the Escrow, and will be refunded to patrons based on their share of overall contribution. This would result in an approximate 20% to 30% refund of original contributed ETH to each contributor (unless there are large patrons that don’t claim their share).
  • Following refunds, the project is considered complete, and all obligations fulfilled as agreed.

Option E: Full Immediate Refund of remaining funds

This option was the “fall-back” plan. I had hoped that the above options were very good options. But I had to at least include this option in case none of the above were acceptable, and the patrons decided to force the issue.

  • Work would immediately cease on all development efforts etc.
  • All infrastructure would immediately be shut down to cease incurring expenses
  • Work would happen with the Escrow (incurring service fees from him) to sort out the remaining financials. Expenses will be closed out, etc.
  • All remaining salary will be held, this would result in the Escrow establishing what the “Project Balance” is
  • From the Project Balance mediated/arbitrated discussions would begin to decide how much (if any) of the remaining funds can be claimed by the Project Team for work already completed but not yet released (ie: beta is nearly done, that work is all “unpaid”). Once a settlement is reached, everyone is paid out accordingly and the project is dissolved.
  • At that point any code in it’s current state is released exactly as-is. All intellectual property is released public domain.
  • All obligations are considered fulfilled as the result of negotiation, and we all go our separate ways.

Now that we’ve all seen the review of the options that were presented. I had a preferred outcome which I felt was in the best interest of the project, and getting us to the best possible success quickly.

That option was Option B

Over the past couple years, it’s become apparent that a glittery 3D engine is not required for Crypto Based games to be successful. And the core of BattleDrome is about what you can do, and the exciting mechanics, not the flash and complexity of 3D animations.

In addition the 3D Engine was little more than a “viewer”. The combat actually happens virtually on the blockchain (which was a core design principal of BattleDrome, that it’s ENTIRELY decentralized, and on-chain, which is still to this day unique).

So I realized that the cost of developing and designing this highly complex piece of tech to set atop an already working game engine seems a bit of a waste of energy/time.

By removing this from scope, the next phase can be much faster.

But something else came to mind too, because of the delays, the project has fallen out of the lime light. It now doesn’t get the attention it once did (and that I think it deserves).

Also the Ethereum ecosystem has evolved greatly. Concepts exist and are considered stable now, that weren’t even thought of back when we started BattleDrome.

So by removing the 3D Engine, we make enough room in the scope to add back in a few changes to re-vitalize the project, draw more attention to it today, and to leverage the current “state of the art” in the Ethereum ecosystem. And all this while still keeping the scope materially smaller than the original project plan.

Overall this means much faster project release, better and more successful game, and overall a better outcome for all Patrons and the community.

This also lets me see my vision come to reality, and be a success. It lets me be proud of what I’ve built, and get there faster, so that a project that has dragged on far too long is finally DONE.

So this is why I preferred this outcome. But ultimately it was up to the patrons to vote…

And so we’ve come to the time to announce the results!

Drum roll please…

Well this one is a bit anti-climactic: Nobody voted…

We had ample time, we left registration open nearly 2 weeks, ran the poll over a full week, announced it via multiple channels, sent reminders, etc…

We did plan for this contingency, by casting a “default vote”. Which is so minimal in weight, that any patron could vastly out-vote it easily. But this served to indicate my preferred position, and in case we had no engagement, it provided an officially recorded outcome.

Monbux, our Escrow was involved throughout the process, and aware of each stage.

The default vote was for Option B as outlined above.

So the final result is:

We’re moving ahead with Option B: Trimmed Down Scope, and Speed up Release!

So what does this actually mean, specifically what is happening right now, what are the next steps for the project?

  • First to be clear, with this outcome, no refunds are being issued to Patrons
  • While this has been going on, I’ve been continuing work on Beta (while also conducting all of the work to handle the above process etc).
  • Beta will release VERY soon (all known bugs which were blocking release have been identified and fixed. We are doing one final round of testing which I’m working on this weekend, and if it goes well and doesn’t uncover any other critical bugs, the beta will be released THIS WEEKEND).
  • Following the Beta Release, we will work with Monbux on the expenses we incurred from the Beta round (which come out of their planned budgets), and Monbux will subsequently release these expenses, and dev salaries from the Beta phase.
  • We will create a new plan for continuing beyond Beta. This plan will incorporate the changes outlined above for the chosen path which includes removing the 3D engine, and breaking out the remaining features we are keeping in (or adding to) scope for the final development phase.
  • The new plan will outline features, and estimated effort
  • We will conduct additional polls (hopefully with more participation) to decide which of this new feature list is in/out, and what their priority order will be
  • We will then go away, and break down a timeline for the final feature list. This will outline which micro-releases will occur, what features will be in each release, and which portion of the remaining funds we associate with those features based on effort/duration/value/etc.
  • A final poll will be conducted to agree or disagree with this assessment, and ultimately approve the plan going forward.
  • Development will resume based on the new detailed project plan which has been published and approved. With the goal of adhering to the timelines in that plan
  • We will continue regular updates/communication that have been built-up over this process.
  • As each micro-release happens, it will be open-sourced on github, and upon release we will conlude the funding for that micro-release with Monbux (ie: escrow will be released for the small portion associated with that micro-release).
  • If we stray by an unacceptable margin from the proposed timeline in the plan, escallation to the Escrow will be available, which will provide a means to force a vote on reconciliation which may consist of: Accepting Revised Plan, Opening up micro-releases as public bounties on Gitcoin, or partial refunds of remaining funds, etc.

Overall I think this outcome is great for everyone, it moves us forward, should ensure a much better final product, and keeps ongoing risk low for Patrons.

Well that’s the update for now. I’m going to quit rambling, and go back to getting Beta released out the door.

Monbux has been consulted throughout this process, and has agreed to the above terms.

I’m happy that this gives us a clear path forward. So now that this process has been productive, we can begin acting on the outcomes outlined above.

You can expect future updates coming soon which will cover:

  • Beta release
  • Final outcome of Beta Funding Round (and revised budget totals, etc)
  • Discussion of features going forward
  • Beginning of Polls on final round features
  • Final release of the detailed project plan
  • Ongoing development updates at the new more frequent cadence.

Please stay safe, stay healthy, and be kind to one another.

Here is looking forward to our next post, and to the bright future of the BattleDrome Project!

Thanks for your support!

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