Saturday, August 24, 2019

First Impressions: Axie Infinity (Ethereum Blockchain-based game)

A stray thought entered my mind recently.

"What if I am an early adopter of blockchain-based games?"

The ramifications for the above thought are manifold.

With this in mind, I rallied some of my fellow investment blogger friends who are also gamers to register their interest in such an endeavour.

As not everyone is familiar with cryptocurrencies and blockchains and not everyone is willing to pay to play, I established the following guidelines to help narrow the choices of games down.

1). The game must be fun (subjective, but consensus could easily be reached with just a few of us)
2). The game does not require any "IT skill" (e.g. gamer does not have to create an account on a centralized exchange, buy a small amount of cryptocurrencies, download a browser-based cryptocurrency wallet, transfer cryptocurrencies to the browser-based wallet to access the game, etc)
3). Game must be free-to-play
4). Game must have decent user interface (it must be intuitive for the gamer)
5). Game must not have every aspect of the game as transactions on the blockchain

Unfortunately, none of the above 5 criteria were met in a single game and we had to shelve that idea for now.

Undeterred and still curious, I ventured alone into the strange new world of blockchain gaming.

My first pick was Axie Infinity.

In Axie Infinity, you collect pets known as Axies. You send them out in threes to battle against other teams of 3s and gain experience points. These experience points could be used to upgrade certain features of your Axies (e.g. make your teeth sharper, your tail stronger) to increase their formidability on the battle field or be used to mate with other Axies to produce offsprings.

As the game do not provide new players with Axies, I had to purchase my trio of Axies at the marketplace. In my case, I spent around SGD $4.80 worth of Ether. In retrospect, this may have been a foolish decision. Shouldn't my Axies be earning money for me instead of spending money for me? lol.

Battles between Axie groups are straightforward enough. You select the (1) positioning of the Axie on the battle field, and (2) the order of the moves used in battle. Each move has an offensive and defensive value to it. When an attacking Axie attacks a defending Axie, the offensive value of the attacking Axie's move is somewhat mitigated by the defensive value of the defending Axie's move....or something like that.

You can battle up to 3 times every 12 hours. Every victory and loss nets you 10 and 5 exp, respectively. For people like me who don't watch the battle animation (see screenshot above) play out, you can just skip to the results instantaneously. Hence, time commitment is negligible. Just click battle 3 times in a row and view the results and you are done. You have to give and take a few seconds to find a match online though.

Assuming I require 2400 exp, lose all my battles, and only take part in 3 battles per day instead of 6, I would need 160 days before my Axies accumulate enough experience to breed baby Axies. This process could be hastened by using a pre-battle increased experience buff. As the buff is registered on the ethereum blockchain as a transaction, there is a cost to using it (e.g. ~ SGD $0.01).

Speaking of blockchain transactions, experience earned from battles have to be synced before they can be used. Otherwise, it will be accumulated in a pending state. And yes, syncing entails a transaction on the ethereum blockchain, which means......there is a cost to it. That's why I'm averse to games with plenty of in-game activities that require registering a transaction on the blockchain (point 5 above). The optimal way to manage this is to accumulate a huge amount of experience before syncing them on the blockchain.

Let's revisit this post again 160 days from now. Hopefully, I will have 3 baby Axies that could be sold for SGD $5 worth of Ether and earn a 100% profit! XD

Friday, August 2, 2019

Fiddling with GIS for Industrial S-REITs

The latest personal project I have been working on is a GIS (Geographic Information System) map detailing the Singapore-based properties of each industrial S-REIT.

Enreitch GIS Industrial REITs Singapore

The above shows all the Singapore-based properties of each industrial S-REIT.

Too cluttered? Just want to see how spread out Mapletree Industrial Trust's properties are? Sure, you could select Mapletree Industrial Trust only. The choice is yours.

Mapletree Industrial Trust Properties

Let's zoom in to some of MIT's Kallang properties.

7 Kallang Place

Hover your mouse cursor over any of the markers and a label will appear detailing the property name (for desktop). For mobile or tablet users, a light tap on a marker will result in the same pop-up. In this case, 7 Kallang Place could be observed in the above screenshot.

Do you need to know the distance from 7 Kallang Place to the main road (or any other place for that matter)?

GIS Mapletree Industrial Trust 7 Kallang Place to main road

Place your mouse cursor over/click the "Measure" plug-in at the top right-hand corner of the map. Click on "Create a new measurement", select the points on the map (minimum of 2 points) and, once you are done, select "Finish measurement" and the line will be drawn on the map. Multiple lines can be accommodated. Hence, you can verify whether a given property is located in a much better spot (e.g. in a major transport node) compared to another property for yourself.

Have fun with it here.

Achievement unlocked: Basic competency in Geographic Information System Visualization

To Enreitch users, more positive surprises will be coming your way. :)