DEAR: A Game Born from Blockchain, Not Bound by It

ARPA Official
5 min readJun 19, 2024


Blockchain games have long struggled with how to relate to the blockchain itself. Many developers opt to make blockchain games that use the blockchain as little as possible. The features of blockchain tend to be constraints in these games, and the chain itself is more of a gimmick than an enhancement to play. With some of these games, the general quality of the final product might itself be somewhat suspect.

The problem with many of these games, outside of the cases where the idea of “blockchain” was being used as a marketing concept rather than a useful tool, is that blockchain technology is designed to do certain things very well- things that aren’t always needed in gaming. If you want to send a token to somebody else, enjoy high levels of security while doing it, and have an indelible record of doing so- blockchain is exactly what you need. However, it can be difficult to grasp how that will improve a game of checkers.

The answer to this problem lies in how a blockchain game is conceived — not as an existing game placed on the chain, but as a game that emerges from the chain itself, one where all the aspects of blockchain are features, not inhibitors. That is the motivation behind DEAR, the first fully on-chain game incubated by ARPA.

DEAR: A Fully On-Chain Game Designed for Blockchain

DEAR is a fully on-chain game. Unlike other blockchain games, it was built from the ground up around the question of how to use blockchain’s architecture in a way that made the most sense from a design and gameplay standpoint. Aspects of blockchain that make it suited for transactions but not games were reimagined.

For example, blockchain transactions are not free. This is well-known and widely accepted by blockchain users. However, it can make designing a game that requires its players to make many transactions difficult. DEAR decided to go the other way — transactions are given the gravity they deserve. Each transaction you make has a definite impact on the game, which you must seriously consider before deciding to do.

Each aspect of blockchain that could be seen as a limitation or a constraint in another game is reimagined as a key component of gameplay for DEAR. Wallet interactions are reimagined as points of engagement. The importance of sending tokens in-game reflects the focus of blockchain on transactions. The transparency of the transaction history blockchain ensures that it is worked into the game’s strategy. Ever-increasing numbers of blocks determine how time flows in the game- no updates to the chain mean nothing happens.

These and other tech and gameplay integrations combine into a unique gaming experience — one that only makes sense with a blockchain. Multiple features would cease to make sense if you tried to emulate the game elsewhere. DEAR is fundamentally integrated with the blockchain.

Blockchain as a Medium

DEAR is intricately tied to the chain. To give a very brief look at the gameplay itself, DEAR centers around connecting with other people and a virtual creature to share tokens labeled “LOVE” or “HATE.” As with emotions and other blockchains, each action changes the world in a meaningful way. Players can decide to feed or abuse the digital deer as they see fit, but other players can join in, do the opposite, or observe.

Of equal importance is that each action contributes to the next block, which moves time forward as it is recorded. Like any blockchain, this ledger of actions, transactions, and engagements with the DEAR and other players is permanent and visible to all. Given the collaborative nature of the game, the fact that every action is visible to all and immutably recorded is itself part of the playing experience.

How players will choose to play when the medium is part of their strategy is yet to be determined.

The importance of blockchain as a medium for gaming, rather than just as a storage point for inventory, the foundation of autonomous worlds, or a minor factor in an otherwise non-blockchain-based game, must be restated. DEAR is not only a fully on-chain game; it is a game where the nature of the blockchain is the first and last consideration in both design and gameplay. Each transaction is a vital point in the story.

This is undeniably a major step forward for blockchain gaming, both technically and conceptually.The idea of a blockchain game that works with the medium rather than against it is a new one, indicative of how far blockchain gaming has yet to go and the importance of DEAR as a springboard.

This is to say nothing of the community that will form as a result of the game. Players will continuously interact with each other and the digital DEAR that they will either help or harm. The collaborative nature of this act, combined with the tendency for blockchain to generate comminutes striving towards similar goals, will create a community sharing emotional tokens, engaging with one another, and responding to the actions of others.

DEAR is ARPA’s first step into the world of Fully On-Chain games. Given our dedication to a community-centered, decentralized blockchain ecosystem, it is a natural step. A game of this kind that shows the full scope of what blockchain can do in gaming is the sort of innovation we praise and have already demonstrated elsewhere.

DEAR is a game that not only stores data on the chain but also incorporates all aspects of blockchain into gameplay and player interactions. It is but the first of a new kind of blockchain game that will continue to integrate the concept of gaming with the strengths of blockchain rather than trying to avoid them.

So come on! Give it a play here:

About DEAR

DEAR is a smart-contract-based creature living on-chain. It challenges players to nurture, influence, and ultimately shape the life of a digital entity through interactions by transactions. DEAR’s mechanisms are naturally grown out of the blockchain, exploring not only the composability and extensibility of smart contracts, but also the relationship between people through the medium of blockchain.

About ARPA

ARPA Network (ARPA) is a decentralized secure computation network built to improve the fairness, security, and privacy of blockchains. ARPA threshold BLS signature network serves as the infrastructure of verifiable Random Number Generator (RNG), secure wallet, cross-chain bridge, and decentralized custody across multiple blockchains.

ARPA was previously known as ARPA Chain, a privacy-preserving Multi-party Computation (MPC) network founded in 2018. ARPA Mainnet has completed over 224,000 computation tasks in the past years. Our experience in MPC and other cryptography laid the foundation for our innovative threshold BLS signature schemes (TSS-BLS) system design and led us to today’s ARPA Network.

Randcast, a verifiable Random Number Generator (RNG), is the first application that leverages ARPA as infrastructure. Randcast offers a cryptographically generated random source with superior security and low cost compared to other solutions. Metaverse, game, lottery, NFT minting and whitelisting, key generation, and blockchain validator task distribution can benefit from Randcast’s tamper-proof randomness.

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