Dark Forest

zkSNARK space warfare

As the Dark Forest community has grown and as the game has increased in complexity, we’ve occasionally received policy questions about bugs, prizes, and access. Additionally, we’ve found that the core team has sometimes needed to use discretion during rounds when dealing with community contributions, whitelist keys, contract bugs, and more.

Dark Forest is still in beta, and there’s a lot more to be done to build a truly open and permissionless 1.0 version of the game. Throughout the last year we’ve worked to find the balance between keeping the game fair and neutral, while also maintaining design and development velocity. In interest of transparency, we’re publishing these updated gameplay guidelines for future 0.x rounds, as an addition to the broad guidelines we published during the release of v0.3.

Dealing with game-breaking exploits: As always, automation, deception, bribery, and other legal out-of-band behavior is fair game. However, with respect to smart contract exploits that are clearly not in the spirit of the game, we humbly request and encourage that you to play in “good faith.” For Dark Forest 0.x rounds, the core dev team reserves the right to upgrade contracts to fix critical bugs, or to end a round early if any player finds a game-breaking bug and exploits/publicizes it in a way that significantly affects the experience of other players.

  • While we can’t force any player behavior on the blockchain, if you find a game-breaking bug, we encourage you to report it to us. In the past we’ve awarded special prizes for reports!

Who can play and win prizes: Our belief is that a truly crypto-native game, just like any truly crypto-native dapp, is one where no one can be prevented from participating. Because Dark Forest is deployed onto a permissionless blockchain, anyone who obtains a whitelist key (including Dark Forest contributors) can create an Ethereum account, play, and compete for prizes.

  • We sometimes give subsets of community members access to testing/staging universes in between rounds as we test new features, hunt for bugs, or solicit suggestions. These community members may include core devs, open-source contributors, community managers, grant recipients, top players from previous rounds, etc. Despite the fact that the contract/client code is open-sourced at the start of every round, we recognize that this can create information asymmetry in planning for an upcoming round. Therefore, for v0.6 rounds we’ve generally tried to publish a close-to-final version of the core contract and client a few days in advance of a round beginning, so that everyone can inspect new rulesets and strategize ahead of time. Community members have also been working on tools to allow players to test out universes locally.

Whitelist keys: We’ve always intended for the whitelist system to be temporary, as we wait for Ethereum scalability solutions and L2s to mature. And while the whitelist system is in place, we also hope to gradually decentralize the process of obtaining keys over time—for example, perhaps in-game items found in a previous round may function as whitelist keys for the next, rather than all keys being minted by core devs. Currently, however, the core devs mint keys and set a policy for how these keys may be distributed each round in as fair a way as we can come up with.

  • In v0.6, you can obtain a whitelist key by achieving a pre-declared objective in a previous v0.6 round; whitelist keys are also sent to random subsets of the email waitlist, and larger batches of whitelist keys are sent to community managers who help to distribute keys on Twitter, Discord, etc.

Special prizes: Special Valhalla prizes help encourage the creation of community-oriented projects in the Dark Forest ecosystem. These prizes may be awarded solely at the core team’s discretion to players who contribute to the Dark Forest community via open-source tooling, content creation, bug reporting, and more. These awards may also be given to Dark Forest grant recipients, Dark Forest contributors (from time to time we’ve contracted or given grants to community members to help with JS/solidity development or other functions), and community moderators and managers.

  • See examples of special prizes awarded in the past for a sense of how we’ve been thinking about these.

These policies are subject to be updated over time, especially if unforeseen edge cases arise. We’re glad to be building for such an awesome community and we’re excited to continue to see player innovation over the next few months!