Case Study: Caldera x Curio

“Working with Caldera has saved us the equivalent of two full-time engineers who would otherwise be solely focused on blockchain infrastructure.” - Kevin Zhang, Curio Co-founder

Curio is bringing games fully on-chain

Curio is an on-chain gaming studio that is working on the next generation of games. They aim to democratize the gaming industry by expanding user-generated content within games. This allows all players to contribute to a shared universe of code and data, promoting maximum transparency and player creativity.
Last month, Curio launched Treaty, which enables players to write and deploy smart contracts called Treaties. Through these Treaties, players can draft the rules of their game. For example, players created a non-aggression treaty that prevented attacks upon payment of ERC20 tokens to a shared guild smart contract. This freedom of interaction is rarely seen in traditional games and allows players to build custom asset marketplaces, lending primitives, guilds, and more.

What is a fully on-chain game?

“Blockchain gaming” has come to mean a variety of things. Games like Axie Infinity for example, are only minimally on-chain. Although ownership of game assets are stored as NFTs, Axie Infinity’s game logic (the rules of the game) and state (the history of in-game actions) exist off-chain on a centralized server. If Sky Mavis, the company behind Axie, decides to shut down this server Axie NFTs would lose all utility. While ownership of game items is decentralized and on-chain, the value of game items is derived almost entirely from an off-chain application.
Curio on the other hand, is striving for something more: placing an entire game engine on-chain. This means that game data is stored on the blockchain, and the game logic and rules are implemented through smart contracts. In short: the game is itself a blockchain protocol, and can be interacted with by smart contract programs written by external developers. This is a big step towards achieving true composability and interoperability in games, allowing any player to extend the game without needing to ask permission from the developers. In short, fully on-chain games blur the line between player and developer.

Why haven’t on-chain games happened in the past?

In the past, real-time, fully on-chain games have just been impossible:
  1. 1.
    A game like Curio consumes around 300 million gas per second.
  2. 2.
    However, an L1 blockchain like Ethereum can only handle up to 30 million gas per block, with the average block time at 12 seconds.
  3. 3.
    This means that if Curio had to launch on Ethereum, they would need 300/30 = 10 blocks to handle the same level of activity, with latencies of almost 2 minutes! This makes the game simply un-playable.
Creating sophisticated games on-chain was clearly infeasible, even under the assumption that such a game could utilize all of Ethereum’s computational resources. In reality, a game like Curio would have to compete with thousands of other games, DeFi protocols, and other apps for blockspace.

Caldera makes on-chain games possible

Caldera’s rollup infrastructure makes it possible for a gaming studio like Curio to put an entire game-engine on-chain. Curio’s custom-built Caldera chain can easily handle 300 million gas per second, providing the power needed for a full on-chain gaming experience. What Ethereum would normally take 2 minutes to process, Curio’s Caldera chain can process in one second. Plus: Curio’s Caldera chain is completely dedicated to their game, so they don’t need to worry about gas price spikes due to competition from other applications.
In addition to the sheer power of a Caldera chain, Curio can customize important options including but not limited to finality period, block gas limit, and smart contract size limit to bring their game on-chain. And given Caldera’s reliability, the Curio team can worry less about infrastructure and focus more on iterating on their gameplay and creating new exciting game mechanics.

Beyond just infrastructure provider, Caldera is an engineering partner

"We’ve at moments needed additional chains to be spun up, which is usually done in minutes. The team are also experts at all things blockchain and roll-up technicals." - Kevin Zhang, Curio Co-founder
Curio needed a reliable team to support them on their blockchain infrastructure that can quickly respond to critical issues. Caldera’s engineering team is on call to respond to any changes needed to Curio’s chain. At Caldera, we prioritize responsiveness, and aim to respond to engineering requests in less than an hour.
As Curio continues to grow and expand its on-chain gaming ecosystem, we’re excited to support them in every way that we can so that their team can continue to focus on what they do best - creating innovative games that push the boundaries of the gaming industry.
If you’re building in Web3, we’d love to support you too!
  • Try playing around with a temporary testnet rollup at the first platform in the world that enables anyone to launch fully-featured, Ethereum-compatible rollups in a single click.
  • Caldera is already running several chains in production, on mainnet. If your project is interested in launching a production rollup, please get in touch or check out our website at​