This blog is a repost of a comment made by FunFair founder Jez San in this Reddit thread on 8 August 2017.
Randomness is actually a very big deal and is what makes FunFair’s games so Fun (.. and Fair)
Contrary to some beliefs, randomness most certainly is possible in Ethereum. The trick is how expensive and how fast it is. FunFair has advanced the field with its own unique State Channel implementation that’s optimised for gaming (and isn’t the same as what Raiden is working on, btw).
We call them Fate Channels because they help us generate realtime random numbers that are fast and provably fair, but also each RNG provably comes from the same sequence, in order, so we can prove the house wasn’t selective in which random numbers it used on which game (another way the house could cheat in conventional gaming systems). Games need lots of random numbers. Every spin of the roulette wheel, every roll of the dice, every deck of cards needs lots of random numbers, and for the player to have a good experience, these need to be fast enough that the player isn’t made to wait an agonisingly long amount of time. The faster, the more zippy the experience and ideally, to play as fast as the player wants to play.
In our Fate Channel implementation, the player and the house each contribute a part of the seed of the randomness, and the thing that makes it provably fair is that it’s committed in advance to the blockchain. It is a commit/reveal scheme, so the seed that’s committed in advance is shielded from view by anyone (the miner, the player etc) until after the games are played, and then the secret seed is revealed to prove that all games played in the prior session were fair, and the entire sequence of random numbers came from the same seed, in provable order. This method can’t be cheated by anyone – not the house, the miner, the player etc. We’re doing further research work to extend this technology to support fully peer to peer gaming.
This fast randomness, coupled with Smart Contracts, allow the entire player’s game experience to be provably fair. The Fate Channels are a very efficient way to implement realtime games, especially when the player sits down to play multiple games (very common).
They have some desirable benefits too, like near zero gas costs for playing an entire game session. The player pays a small amount of gas (less than one bet on most Ethereum games) to open the Fate Channel as they sit down to play a game. And all the games inside that session – even hundreds of games played in an hour – are zero gas cost. ‘The house’ pays the closing channel gas cost so the overhead to the player is insignificant, especially compared to other solutions. Often Ethereum gaming sites’ games have high and seriously uneconomic overheads to play (and usually slow wait times).
To compare the benefits of this tech versus alternatives, we can split the market into three categories of gaming. Traditional credit card based online gaming, Bitcoin gaming and Ethereum gaming. We think the superior fairness of Ethereum games in general will eventually win out, as the player isn’t required to make a deposit that is held by the casino for a long period of time (unlike Bitcoin or credit card gaming).
Also, the fact that the entire game logic and outcomes are transparent and provable is what makes Ethereum gaming the best player protection and fairness available in the marketplace. But usually this fairness comes with two costs.
Most Ethereum games are slow to play (sometimes minutes per hand) because they usually wait for several blocks to be mined and receive their outsourced random number – and also they cost a lot of gas because they do unnecessary on-chain transactions that spam the blockchain with intermediate results. Some use blockchain randomness like the block-hash for their random number generation, which can be cheated by miners.
FunFair is not only fair, but fun 😉 We achieve ‘fun’ by creating highly interactive and graphical games to a high standard.. but also because the reaction speed of the games is fast enough that the player experience is fun. FunFair might even be the ‘snow white’ of gaming… (the fairest of them all).
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