Vision Paper
Unearthing the Material World


The Material World is a concept for an interoperable game economy protocol that allows in-game materials, items and recipes to be created and shared across game worlds and digital experiences. The Material World is a data layer set to enable users to collect, refine, craft, trade and distribute items and materials, offering developers the opportunity to integrate a validated economic catalogue into their game systems, that include both creator and user-defined standards. The Third Kingdom will set the stage to test the concepts of The Material World alongside the community.

Virtual Game Theory

In the expansive digital realm of interactive games and experiences, players find themselves spending valuable time and energy mining, farming, trading and crafting resources that contribute to discrete game economies and communities within isolated game experiences. While this may be rewarding in the short term, as soon as a game or game season falls out of support, these same players find all of their time and progress lost as they move to the next game or game iteration.

The open metaverse opens doors across platforms, digital worlds and economies; where user owned content and data drive experiences in applications. With Futureverse technologies built upon the interoperable framework of The Root Network, we seek to disrupt previously established, era-defined boundaries between game worlds and allow builders and communities to participate in bridging the gaps dividing the materials, items and resources generated within. The objective is to expand on our existing efforts in character and accessory interoperability, whilst advancing the groundwork for an open and interconnected realm of materials and crafting items. This entails proposing and validating a system that allows players to seamlessly transfer their painstakingly collected inventories between their favorite games, applications, and virtual worlds.

Traditional games offer great commonality in the materials that can be harvested and utilized. From a piece of iron ore to a crude ruby gemstone, these items are revered as the fundamental building blocks of composable in-game objects. With warm nostalgia, many of us recall hyper-focused hours spent farming for base materials in both single-player and online games, moving between petrified trees and prospected ores, filling inventories with wood log after wood log, and working our way up the skill ranks to refine and craft a stockpile of arrowheads and axes, or to trade for in-game gold. The experience is both fond and extremely familiar, with the same logs of wood and metal ores available through very similar methods in each new role-playing and world-building experience we encounter, to this day.

For decades, virtual game economies have been studied in parallel with real world economies. One particular case often referenced is Old School RuneScape, a massively multi-player online role-playing game boasting a community-driven free market and economic system where players can directly assign value to in-game items. In these systems, real-world economics notably come into play, demonstrating supply, demand, and elasticity as basic underlying economic drivers. Players tend towards their strategic strengths, farming excess items or repetitively completing tasks to later trade for the materials they actually need. Whether manually mined from a prospected ore or dropped from a slain monster as the faucet, each spawned item enters the game world economy for trade or consumption, becoming a source of compounding value within the Old School RuneScape world.

So, with so much potential for game materials to echo value and tangibly represent player and community effort, why limit these economic systems and user experiences to the confines of a single game world? With the Material World protocol, we imagine a new age of online games, where the diamond hammer you labored to craft from its base materials in one game carries its value into the next, and can be traded, used or modified across an unlimited range of interconnected worlds. Opportunities for community cross-pollination arise when developers choose to integrate the open Material World Protocol. By doing so, they can tap into thriving economies of base, refined, and crafted materials, while also onboarding and creating proliferating value for the existing communities that shape and validate it.

The Resource Quo

Creating and balancing large economic systems that introduce a diverse range of materials and items for games and interactive worlds can be taxing for experience creators. Each zone, expansion, or newly released application requires a wealth of time from game developers to design, balance, and test each added resource. This process ensures not only a narrative fit within the context of the world but also prevents adverse impacts on other new or existing meta-systems intertwined with the game economy.

Designing game economies can become a never-ending process. Developers face challenges with player motivation, sinking efforts into tutorializing and refining interfaces to bridge knowledge gaps between players and in-game economies when expanding catalogues and introducing new complexities. Developers hope players will invest time in learning new gathering routes, recipes, and forging methods for each item, across various applications. Smaller games may struggle with in-game liquidity to support trading demand, leaving users lacking momentum needed in their niche yet beloved games. Additionally, there's always a risk of exploits like duplications or resource manipulation, which can devalue materials and items users have invested time and effort in gathering and creating if systems aren't robust.

The importance of this process can’t be understated, as economic game drivers serve as revenue funnels and are crucial for player retention, essential to keep any game afloat. Newzoo reports that in 2023, Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft continued to top MAU charts in the gaming industry, with their strengths cited as enabling community empowerment, creative expression and user-generated content, most notable being Fortnite’s recent Creator Economy 2.0 release. These titles have carved out a slice of the addressable market, contributing to 27% of global playtime (Newzoo (2024) The PC & Console Gaming Report 2024). All of these games provide funnels into mixed revenue models through their core gameplay systems, with in-game micro-transactions as the most emergent meta in game monetization.

A large amount of game developers completely prevent players from contributing to traditional games. Players are not often incentivized to help advance or shape the worlds they play in by creating game items and modifications. However, over the years, we often find that the games and applications thriving beyond their years of intended support are those that embrace mod communities.  These communities enable players to take matters into their own hands by creating and distributing in-game resources, cosmetics, objects, and item customizations.. Whether for creative fulfilment, to fill a hole in the game marketplace, or increase player quality of life - it is the communities that continue to contribute to these traditional games that uphold the economy and the world’s value.

This provides clarity in value alignment across gaming, where failures in the design of these systems inevitably leads to unsatisfied players. As developers gate any direct contribution, players become fatigued as their existing inventories devalue and inefficiencies accumulate. Currently, the ability to bridge existing catalogues or economies between games is not possible, leading to a loss of persistent in-world relevance and a decline in economic value. Consequently, maintaining a game’s active customer base can be highly affected. With each new game, developers are challenged to market and cultivate new player bases and communities, encountering difficulty in funneling the denizens of existing game worlds into the revenue drivers for their own. These repeated experiences and pain points collectively reinforce the need for an interoperable and decentralized materials protocol.

Fostering Symbiosis between Communities and Developers

By providing a resource system for anyone to easily utilize and implement, we will create avenues for game developers to shorten their time to market, leverage the engagement of existing player bases and cut development costs.

The Freedom to Build

Integral to the viability of an interoperable game catalogue is to honor a developer’s choice in how and to what extent any materials and systems are integrated. Developers are free to specify the conditions of base material distribution within their games, how and when they can be spawned in, and how those items are received. In addition, methods of utilizing each piece are free to be designed to fit within any game’s systems and loops, as long as the conditions for item creation and modifications are fairly met.

An experience developer would still be free to:

  1. Define the volume and types of materials available within their game. Making calls to the Material World faucet for gold ore only applies in worlds where there is demand for gold ore. In addition, creating material sinks to control the in-world materials economy as required.
  2. Decide the conditions in which materials can be attained by players. In a turn-based RPG, gold ingots might be discovered by players from a treasure chest for lack of a material gathering system.
  3. Design unique game loops and meta-systems for composing materials into new items or property-altered states. In one game, a player may need to manually refine materials through a blast furnace. In another, there are no blast furnaces and instead a refined gold ingot is traded to a blacksmith in exchange for its base materials.
  4. Implement their own game-specific material, currencies, and items. If a game creator decides that game world-specific items, for example an Abyssal Blade, should remain within their specific application rather than become interoperable, this would not be interfered with.
  5. Choose to purpose materials and items within their game world for their own unique game design or genre. While there may be some pre-defined metadata schema for an item within the game catalogue, game developers are free to interpret appropriately as part of their game mechanics. A battle staff within one game that maps to Arcane power may instead represent blunt force in another.

These are simply examples of a host of decisions that remain free to any developer choosing to support the Material World protocol and item catalogues within games. There is no desire to constrain any game world or application within the framework of any items or materials but instead incentivize creativity. Experience creators can incorporate desired features such as material transfer, trade, collection, refinement and crafting processes in their game. They can additionally create their own materials and items by adding to the Material World resource catalogue, enabling new shared resources.

The proposed value proposition for developers in a shared material system is to leverage an already thriving game economy structure with an empowered community to bootstrap or strengthen their own experiences, and in turn be rewarded for driving activity or input into the Material World protocol. By reducing the overhead of balancing and securing a new in-depth game catalogue, a developer has more runway to focus on their interactive design and game mechanics to create a fun and desirable game that their players will enjoy. There is a symbiosis to be studied here where earlier applications can also see an influx of new users after onboarding into other Material World supported experiences. Cross-pollination might be predicted where one application may support complementary systems to another, enabling wider adoption. To ground this with an example, new players acquiring ruby gemstones in a new tile-matching puzzle game may choose to traverse into previous games offering crafting mechanisms for said gemstones. In this instance, each game has delegated value-added systems to solve for potential incompatibility of systems within their own game. By this logic, any experience driving value to items players already own has an active user-base to find market-fit and design for, and by creating these exciting or desired ways for these items to be interacted with can more safely project acquisition, player retention and as a result revenue.

An important layer within the Material World system is to encourage creativity through an incentives system where any creator can earn back materials and tradeable rewards based on the use or consumption of their contributed materials and items. Similar incentive systems such as the Vortex exist on The Root Network, rewarding validators and staking participants for contributing to network health and activity. These users receive rolled-up Vortex tokens as rewards, backed by the underlying tokens on the network. The Material World protocol considers a similar concept for systems that reward developers and creators within the Material World protocol, producing and distributing a balanced value of material rewards and incentives as an additional driver for revenue to strengthen game applications and their operations.

Supporting an Open World

We believe everyone should be able to be a part of building the open metaverse they envision. Through contributing new materials, items and recipes, the Material World empowers the community to shape this open protocol, providing growth and ingenuity to all users and partners building within.

Material World will empower players to contribute meaningfully to their favorite games, where anyone can create their own custom items such as furniture or weapons to safely integrate them into games as developers expand their catalogues. These creations can be transferred from game to game and monetized equally, with the same incentives in place for developers.

In a world where time is a persistent primary resource, the ability to carry your earned items across games opens up a world of accessibility for players. Rather than being limited to investing their time in a single application, players can now allocate their time more effectively across multiple games. This not only benefits developers within the Material World ecosystem but also allows players to enjoy a wide variety of digital experiences in the open metaverse.

Enabling cross-game trading of material inventories through a shared system, players retain access to a familiar ecosystem of materials open for trade and liquidity with a wider game community, helping game developers attract and retain players. Players who enjoy farming specific material types can access a trading marketplace to obtain new material types in any other game world.

In addition, this vision presents an opportunity for active community to participate in validating the available items and materials created within the Material World’s game economy catalogues, upholding the standards alongside game developers for additional incentives and bolstering a new world that is fair and open to everyone, embracing collective creativity.

Crafting a Recipe for Success

The open metaverse is an emerging space where ownership, composability and interoperability reside at the core of our collective values. In a new world of open standards, Material World seeks to allow everyone to create and share their material needs through accessible user interfaces and API systems, without required prior technical or web3 knowledge.

Definitions for Material Types

Base materials are crude, non-token balances accessed through a material distribution system with balances maintained by Material World. Example materials include wood, iron ore and sand. These could exist in an oracle to ensure maximum usability and minimum cost to implement and trade.

Refined materials can be stored on-chain as token balances received by passing base materials through an applicable refinement process. As refined materials are token balances, they can be traded freely. Examples of refined materials include iron bars, wooden planks, or glass.

Items are craftable token balances with specified creation requirements and can be received through either trading or completing the crafting process with base and refined materials. The crafting process swaps the users’ refined materials for items using a recipe or item blueprint.

Recipes outline unique combinations of qualifying materials needed to initiate refinement or crafting processes to create new refined materials and items. Recipes can be shared by creators and players, or discovered through game progression systems as specification cards. A craftable item can be freely created by meeting the specifications of a recipe, as long as it’s not tied to a blueprint.

Blueprints cover recipes for items with are attached to a more specific API - these must be discovered through game-play or other creator-defined methods and may specify in-world criteria for the creation of the item recipe attached to it. For example, you may need an authorized crafting workbench, an alteration item such as a stone hammer or access to a defined guild to use the ingredients and craft the item.

A World of Possibility

The Material World protocol will seek to provide users with tools for material distribution, material collection and crafting, ensuring a fair avenue for creating items through recipes and blueprints. This includes interoperable systems for generating and harvesting a variety of materials, refining them into usable or property-altered states and crafting complex, composable items or structures.

Both creators and the community will have the chance to contribute to the range of items and materials available in the open metaverse through a democratized system for item creation and validation. This model fosters a new world that is fair, diverse, and collectively owned. Users can carry their material balances across any experience that chooses to integrate them, providing countless opportunities for creators to craft their own user experiences within various application types across the open metaverse.

While materials might provide the basic building blocks for any item economy, they raise questions as to the processes which may enable fair universal recognition of what these materials are and what limits them. Who is to say there can be limited or unlimited petrified wood in circulation? These are economic concepts that we believe are best validated by building openly, alongside the community.

Some initial processes concepted to bootstrap the Material World include:

Catalogue item creation

All materials created and uploaded to the Material World protocol may be assigned a schema to define fair use and standards. They are uploaded through a form before undergoing validation processes. Creators can define the item hierarchy, including its name, type, allocation volumes, and limited or unlimited royalties. Additionally, they can specify any other custom properties or metadata associated with the material. 3D objects and image files can also be provided as options for visual applications.

Refined materials and items will require the completion of a recipe creator to define its conditions for creation, and safeguards can be toggled by any creator to lock the material from modification, including preventing inflation of the pre-defined supply. Materials and items within the catalogue should be easy to filter and understand, with database tags indicating their origin game world, along with supply and popularity metrics.

Spawning materials in game applications

As non-token balances, base materials can be distributed to games through a material distribution job, called by any developer for their desired material supply in compliance with creator-defined rarities. Players and developers are then free to create more complex materials and items through their own game systems or other. To create a valve for the material taps, staking mechanisms can be implemented for more limited or valuable materials, requiring developers to fulfil a staking requirement against their desired material supply to help ensure economic volumes remain stable.

To spawn a refined material or item, a game must either possess it in its wallet balance via trade or acquisition through the protocol, or create the material through the refinement and crafting process. Any base or refined materials consumed in any conversion process are burned, and royalties entitled to the material creator.


In addition to an easy-to-use frontend catalogue solution, Material World will look to design and provide developers with a set of accessible APIs, through which they could:

  • Spawn materials into their game/app
  • Initiate refinement and crafting processes
  • Transfer materials to customer accounts/wallets (used for collection and distribution of items)
  • Initiate a trade between users on The Root Network that can be utilized for internal (in-game) and external marketplaces.
  • Fetch the material configuration/library for games and apps.
  • Fetch the current balance and item inventory of game/user

Shaping a Protocol

The Material World protocol aims to support any kind of game or experience, leaving the door open for novel applications, while placing as much control as possible in the hands of developers and communities. The rise of blockchain technology in the previous decade has proven a need for digital economic systems to be trustless, ensuring the security and reliability essential for user investment and community engagement. Positioned for this purpose, the Root Network is decentralized and scalable, empowering developers and players of metaverse games and applications alike.

All items can be secured on The Root Network, with interoperability managed through item ledger systems such the Asset Register and Sylo Oracle communicating with materials balances living within backend systems such as distributed file storage.

Prospective milestones for a Material World protocol

  1. Base materials catalogue - the creation of a catalogue system for base materials that can be discovered by the community and tapped into by developers. These materials are off-chain balances, that can be equivalently traded with each other within game applications.
  2. Material distribution system - providing developers an opportunity to earn, create and spawn community-created materials for in-game distribution and end-user collection.
  3. Material management system - a frontend tool to simplify the materials creation process within catalogues, and provide metadata schema to store information regarding the creation of items for categorization. This includes processes for item modifications to enable the combining or alteration of existing materials and items, and reporting tools.
  4. Recipe schema - setting an initial structure of creator-defined standards for composable items and materials, defining the prerequisites for refined material or item creation and distribution.
  5. Refinement and crafting processes - supporting the integration of in-game crafting, refinement, and collection processes in any way developers choose, allowing the creation of user experiences on any device and application type.
  6. Validation system - testing the viability and appropriate solutions for allowing the community to ensure the quality and integrity of Material World materials as validators.
  7. Engagement incentives - rewarding users’ activity within the Material World protocol. This includes trading, creating, consuming, and utilizing materials and items, as well as receiving material royalties to support community-driven game enhancement.
  8. Intelligence tools - your AI creations can be validated as part of a game economy to become replicable and composable. Set the conditions on how it's attained, purposed, and recomposed as part of its standards and schema.

Bootstrapping within The Third Kingdom

The Third Kingdom will not only be a fun simulation strategy game, containing one of the largest prizes in esports with up to 312,000,000 ROOT tokens, but importantly, will also create the foundational resources of the Material World.

The key to finding the most robust and user-friendly solutions to build the Material World protocol presents itself as an opportunity to test an initial interoperable materials system alongside our valued community in the early seasons of the upcoming The Third Kingdom game.

The first phase of design for Material World is creating an initial economy of materials within The Third Kingdom. This will allow us to effectively validate ideas for off and on-chain data storage and API systems, using the materials discovered by community activity in gameplay. This gives us the runway to discover the best user experience for creators and game developers to tap into this base catalogue of materials, and further create their own materials and item templates that can be utilized and traded across games and metaverse worlds.

By combining fun gameplay and incentive mechanics, we can bootstrap the material ecosystem for the open metaverse in a scalable way. Players will be creating the first catalogue of materials in this Material World protocol and have the opportunity to help evolve the ideas in this vision. More information regarding Material World and how it will be realized through the gameplay in The Third Kingdom will be shared closer to launch.