Go from A to the B, cross an ocean, cross a sea with Viktor Plane!
Viktor Plane is the Lead Blockchain Developer at My Neighbor Alice. He is 28 years old and based in Stockholm, Sweden together with his wife and two Maine Coon cats. In his leisure time he likes to ride his bike, and watch Formula 1, “gives you wings”.
Could you please introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Viktor Plane. I’m the Lead Blockchain Developer of My Neighbor Alice. I like to write code and now at My Neighbor Alice I got the opportunity to help coordinate many brilliant blockchain developers and help ensure that we’re building the right things, the right way.
Do you have any gaming-related hobbies? Or maybe you worked before with games. How did you end up in My Neighbor Alice?
I’ve actually done a lot of gaming myself in the past. I played professionally in a game called World of Warcraft, where I used to play in a very good ‘guild,’ as it’s called. A guild is a group of people who work together towards achieving goals together. We were very competitive, and were actually ranked as the best in the world for quite some time. So that’s definitely where my gaming interest came from. And yeah, at the same time, I was always interested in coding and building software, and I’ve been very privileged to be able to combine the two.
Coding was actually a hobby, but it became something more and you actually started to work with it. Is My Neighbor Alice your first blockchain project?
No, I’ve actually been working with ChromaWay for the past three years in a team that we call the Client Development Team. We build different tools and software to support the Chromia blockchain, tools that the user interacts directly with. For example, wallet, block explorer, and various tools that support the blockchain. I’ve also been involved in a joint venture company called Capchap, where we have built a shared ledger on the blockchain. So, yeah, I’ve been working with Blockchain now for three years, and blockchain gaming specifically for one year.
That’s interesting. So previously, you did eSports, and now you’re actually working on games. Do you feel like there are any differences between what we call traditional gaming, like World of Warcraft and Animal Crossing, and now blockchain gaming? How different do you think it is for people who are transitioning from one to the other?
That’s a good question. I think a game is a game at the end of the day, so a game needs to be something that’s fun for the player. But if you look at more traditional games, you can invest a lot of time and money into it, but you don’t really get as much back from that as you would get from a blockchain game. Where you can own your own assets, and you can continue to evolve them, make them better, and increase their value so that you can also get some sort of return on your investment, which is time in this case.
I’ve spent a lot of time on games. Some days I would sit for up to 18 hours per day. If I could get something more out of this than just the achievement and enjoyment, then I think that would have been great. So that’s why I feel like it’s fun for me to try to make a game where your time is rewarded in a better way. I think you can have fun while still being “productive”.
Many users who have spent hours, days, and nights inside a game want to be able to justify it and to show that they were not just doing it for pleasure. Instead, at the same time, it gives them some reward for it. Do you think My Neighbor Alice is one of the games that has all those qualities? And does it reach the point where RPG-gamers will see Alice as a potential switch from a traditional game?
Yes, that’s what we strive for, it’s our goal. We want to reward people for putting time and effort into the game. So it should not be about ‘pay to win’; you shouldn’t just buy everything and get everything of the best. No, that’s not how we want to do it. We want to make it so that it’s the time that is the currency. That you have to spend time to continuously improve your assets. In My Neighbor Alice we are talking a lot about Land and how you can continue to improve your Land, both the quality of it in terms of the world, the soil, and how it can be used. But, also about the assets and the underlying NFTs, which we call ‘Originals,’ that you can keep on your plot (Land). So as you continue to progress through the game, you will earn more stuff that you can show off on your Land and express yourself with.
How attractive do you think it is for the casual player to switch from traditional games to blockchain games? Is blockchain gaming already at the level where it can offer everything available in the traditional game?
No, definitely not. And blockchain gaming and NFTs are something that’s quite controversial today in the gaming community. However, people were skeptical about the internet initially as well. We believe if done right, blockchain and NFT can definitely enhance the game experience. I think what scares most people is the pay-to-win aspect of it, so we want to make sure that it’s your time that is the biggest investment. My Neighbor Alice is ‘play to earn’, instead of ‘pay to earn.’
What features of decentralized governance will be available in My Neighbor Alice?
I don’t know how much I can share, haha. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) is necessary for a truly decentralized game. The game should be governed by its players, giving power to the public. Without spoiling too much, DAOs can also be integrated tighter into the actual gameplay.
You were before in the center of the big gaming industry while playing World of Warcraft. This game has millions of followers, and has competitive elements such as tournaments. Do you think Alice is something that can be competitive, or is it more about spending your evening enjoying your free time?
Yeah, the latter. We want to build a creative and explorative game where one can disconnect from reality and just relax and enjoy themself in a non-stressful environment. We don’t want it to feel competitive. The game is more about expressing yourself, allowing players to build and shape their land in their own way. There’s also a big social aspect to it. So we don’t imagine a game that’s very competitive. It’s totally OK to just log in and play for an hour or so here and there, and you don’t have to be worried that you are falling behind by not spending enough time. Everyone can play at their own pace.
From the latest release of the roadmap, we already know that there will be several Seasons in My Neighbor Alice. And how do the seasons reflect features? Will it always be the same, or will you add new features for each season?
The way we think about Alpha Seasons is that we want to show stuff that we have built to the community and get early feedback on it. So, for example, now, for the first Alpha Season, there is a big emphasis on fishing, and we want to make sure that we get a lot of player feedback on that. And then, for the next Alpha Seasons, we will continue to add new features to get feedback on those. Our focus is definitely on building a fun game, so player feedback is very important for us.
Will it always be limited to ALICE holders and Landowners, or can anyone sign in and be randomly selected for the testing?
We want to reward our early investors who bought, so they are the first ones that get to participate and test the game. Being a landowner definitely has a lot of perks, but we are also building a game that can be played without actually owning land. So in later seasons we won’t have that requirement anymore.
How important is it for you, as a blockchain developer, to hear the feedback of My Neighbor Alice communities and game communities, and how much does it reflect on what you do?
It’s very important. Without proper player feedback, we will end up building the wrong thing. The team’s main focus is to build a fun game. So it’s very important for us that the players are as involved as they can be and provide us with feedback on what is good, what is not working, and what needs some slight adjustments. Feedback is very crucial.
You previously mentioned Originals. What is that in more detail?
Originals is Chromia’s NFT standard. So similar to how Ethereum has ERC721, Chromia has Originals. I like to say that Originals are NFTs on steroids. They can do a lot more, and can be made much more dynamic so that they can continue to evolve. A very good use-case for this in My Neighbor Alice is that we want to reward players for their time, and with Originals they can continue to evolve their assets as they spend more time in the game.
Thank you very much for your time and thank you for a great interview!
Thanks for having me, we are thrilled to finally have our players online in the first alpha season and we look forward to showing you all what else we’ve built.
About My Neighbor Alice
My Neighbor Alice is a social online game with focus on resource gathering, crafting and creative expression. Players build their own virtual lands, interact with neighbors, perform exciting daily activities and earn rewards along the way.
Join Alice’s Channels:
Telegram Announcement: https://t.me/AliceAnnouncements