World Engine — The First Gamechain SDK, Now Live.

World Engine — The First Gamechain SDK, Now Live.


  • World Engine is a Gamechain SDK utilizing sharded rollup architecture that allows it to horizontally scale and support onchain games with thousands of transactions per second.
  • World Engine is now open source and everyone can start building on World Engine in under 15 minutes by following the World Engine Quickstart guide.
  • Argus Labs will be announcing a builders program to provide technical, funding, and network support for World Engine developers in the next few days. Make sure to follow Argus Labs & World Engine socials.

Today we’re thrilled to unveil World Engine — the world’s first Gamechain SDK that utilizes Argus Labs’ novel sharded rollup architecture. World Engine was used to power the Dark Frontier gamechain launched on December 2023, allowing onchain games to scale to thousands of transactions per second with sub-100ms block time, while increasing development speed significantly.

A World Engine Gamechain provides a number of key benefits for game developers, including:

  • Scalability — Never worry about being too popular, your Gamechain can horizontally scale to tens of thousands of transactions per second through sharding. Unlike L3s, sharded rollups don’t suffer from state fragmentation, ensuring seamless composability.
  • Expressivity — Blast past slow-paced strategy or turn-based game. The Cardinal game shard framework seamlessly handles modern game mechanic workloads such as real-time combat and physics.
  • Extensibility — Stand out from the pack by building your own game shards plugins. A custom scripting language for magic, smart contracts as in-game buildings, etc. The world is your oyster.

This release marks a quantum leap in how onchain games are built: allowing onchain games that were previously impossible to be built and rendering the preconceived ideas of onchain game limitations obsolete.

Build onchain games, faster, better.

The development of fully onchain games has been historically known to be riddled with various challenges.

  • Blockchains are slow — Existing layer 2 scaling solutions such as traditional optimistic and ZK rollup reduce transaction cost, but quickly struggle with modest continuous user load. Layer 3s increases capacity, but sacrifices the composability that an onchain game needs. As a result, game developers have to accept subpar reliability and limit themselves to a rudimentary game mechanic that reduces their audience size.
  • Layer 3s fragments composability — Many have thought that the solution to the layer 2 scaling problem for onchain games is to simply spin up more layer 3s. Unfortunately, layer 3s creates state fragmentation which harms the seamless interoperability that an onchain game needs. Imagine having to go through the 7-days challenge period or waiting hours for a ZK proof to be generated just to be able to communicate from one L3 to another.
  • Clunky developer experience — Smart contract VMs carry with them various limitations that degrade developer experience. Many onchain games have to employ various hacks, codegen, and indexers to provide basic gameplay features.

When the Argus Labs team evaluated various blockchain stacks to build our game upon, we encountered all of these challenges and were unable to find an off-the-shelf solution that addressed it well; this is how the World Engine was born.

To address these challenges, the Argus Labs R&D team devised a novel rollup construction that utilizes sharding, inspired by the architecture of Massively Multiplayer Online game. This construction was finally revealed to the public for the first time on DBA Research Day on May 2023.

The sharded rollups architecture allows a World Engine gamechain to horizontally scale to thousands of TPS without causing the dreaded state fragmentation of L3s. At the same time, it allows us to create and utilize a hyper-optimized game state machine/runtime (game shard) that is on par in performance with traditional game servers, allowing more games to be built fully onchain.

The World Engine sharding construction is comprised of 2 primary shard variants that play different roles in the stack:

Cardinal (Game Shard) — Powerful and easy-to-learn onchain game engine

  • Intuitive onchain game engine written in Go — Cardinal’s Go runtime allows you to write your game idiomatically in Go, one of the world’s most popular programming languages, eliminating talent bottlenecks and knowledge silos.
  • Loop-driven runtime — Cardinal is the only onchain game engine with a loop-driven runtime architecture that is used in modern game engine runtime. This allows Cardinal to easily implement mechanics such as physics and complex combat systems that are not trivially achievable in traditional blockchain runtime such as the EVM.
  • Get your game running in hours, not months — Cardinal comes with powerful developer tooling that speeds up your game development cycle.
    • World CLI — an easy-to-use CLI to manage your project from scaffolding to deployment.
    • Cardinal Editor — a game state inspector that allows you to iterate on your onchain game logic without waiting weeks/months for a game client to be built out.
    • Game Client Integration SDK (Unity, Unreal, Godot, Javascript, REST, etc) — easily integrate with any game engine of your choice with batteries-included account abstraction and social logins (Google, Facebook, etc).
World CLI and Cardinal Editor in action

Polaris EVM (Base Shard) — EVM compatibility and interoperability for your onchain game

  • EVM compatible — Get the superpowers of Cardinal game shards while continuing to enjoy the EVM’s rich ecosystem of wallets, tools, and smart contract library.
  • Seamless communication between EVM and Cardinal — World Engine’s EVM base shard comes with a shard router precompile that allows deep integration and communication between EVM smart contracts and Cardinal. It’s as easy as communicating between 2 EVM smart contracts.
  • Integrates seamlessly with EVM game frameworks (i.e. MUD) — Have an onchain game you already wrote in Solidity, but want the Cardinal superpowers? You can easily integrate both using World Engine’s shard router precompile.

It’s time to build.

World Engine is now open source and everyone can start building on World Engine in under 15 minutes by following the World Engine Quickstart guide.

We will also be announcing a builders program to provide technical, funding, and network support in the next few days, so make sure to follow us on our social accounts below.

If you are interested in building your onchain game on World Engine or integrating your infrastructure with World Engine, you can reach out to the World Engine core devs through this form.

Social & Resources Links