Growing the CardanoSharp .NET library with NFTs, an Unreal Engine SDK, and more

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know of the ongoing NFT craze. The seismic trend has captivated speculators, particularly on Ethereum.

NFTs on Ethereum

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, represent a vanguard in the realms of collectibles, events, influencers, and online communities. The blockchain standard allows artists and others to sell a digital creation while preserving its one-of-a-kind nature. These tokens can represent art ownership, tickets, collectibles, community access, and more.

Essentially, NFTs leverage a blockchain’s strict token minting rules, ensuring an on-chain representation that cannot be spoofed or duplicated. As such, the authenticity of these digital items is straightforward to verify.

Recent headlines testify to the technology’s market-moving potential.

Yet, NFTs remain in their infancy. Costs to mint, buy, or sell digital collectibles can quickly lead to runaway fees. Occasionally, cumbersome orders result in transaction costs far outweighing an item’s original value.

Unfortunately, usability issues must be resolved for the promise of video game NFTs to crystallize. Gaming communities are by and large germane to crypto, but studios require seamless transactability before melding digital tokens into in-game items.

That said, the recent buzz surrounding Axie Infinity and other “play-to-earn” blockchain games has demonstrated product-market fit. If the user experience can be improved, NFT marketplaces could unearth mountains of capital while simultaneously revolutionizing gaming.

The .NET Framework

Modern consumers live online. In particular, younger generations rely heavily on mobile apps and social networks in their day-to-day activities. Such seamless usability assumes a common user experience across platforms. Active business people, for instance, require email access on mobile and desktop devices, and the status of their inbox must be up-to-date regardless of the interface.

Microsoft’s .NET framework lightens the load on developers building across platforms. The suite is powered by a core environment that supports C# and other languages. Using .NET Core, developers can reuse a codebase for applications on Windows, OS X, and several flavors of Linux. Similarly, . NET’s Xamarin platform provides tools for building cross-platform mobile applications.

Notably, Unity, Microsoft Visual Studio, and StackOverflow all rely on .NET in their technology stack.

CardanoSharp

The CardanoSharp team consists of Kyle Johns, Alexander Klee, Daniel Schaefer, Keith, and Marco. Established contributors, the group successfully developed the eponymous .NET serialization library in Fund 3. The library helps developers build cross-platform applications that interact with the Cardano blockchain.

In a recent Catalyst town hall meeting, Johns demoed a prototype mobile wallet built using CardanoSharp:

Owing to . NET’s flexibility, the library is suitable for both iOS and Android. As such, the library extends development on Cardano beyond the Haskell and Rust communities. Currently, CardanoSharp supports several essential wallet functions:

  • generating mnemonics
  • deriving private and public keys
  • creating addresses
  • building transactions
  • calculating fees
  • adding metadata

Behind the scenes, CardanoSharp is an offline library. APIs like BlockFrost, Dandelion, and cardano-graphql bridge the gap by:

  • retrieving transaction histories of an address
  • gathering UTXOs
  • querying Cardano’s current slot number
  • signing and submitting transactions

Moving forward, the team seeks to extend the CardanoSharp project to support minting, multisig, smart contracts, and more. Along these lines, voters will notice several CardanoSharp Fund 6 proposals on the Catalyst IdeaScale:

The Unreal and Unity Game Engines

Epic Games is a practically a household brand in the Western world. Like any tech unicorn worth its salt, the company was brought to life by founder Tim Sweeney in his parents’ home. These days, Epic Games is recognizable for blockbuster video games such as Gears of War, Unreal Tournament, and, of course, Fortnite.

These iconic releases, however, have one thing in common: the Unreal Engine. Written in C++, the portable game engine is fast and flexible. Unreal’s notable photorealism also contributes to its popularity. The latest version, Unreal Engine 5, is slated for release in early 2022, and Unreal Engine 4 is accessible from the company’s GitHub.

Similarly, Unity is another mainstream game engine created by Unity Technologies. Pokemon Go, Super Mario Run, and other major titles have been built with the suite. Although Unreal’s premiere aesthetics make it the go-to choice for big-name studios, Unity’s ease of use makes it popular among indie developers. The two engines are leaders in market share, with Unity garnishing 48 percent of the pie to Unreal’s 13 percent share.

CardanoSharp’s Proposals

In one of several Fund 6 proposals, the CardanoSharp team aims to integrate NFT support into the Unreal Engine. The proposal looks to foster an engine native experience via a plugin.

Briefly, the plugin will provide a streamlined solution for creating, managing, and distributing NFTs and other tokens. The package will allow token functionality to mesh seamlessly with a title’s gameplay. The proposal requests $10,180 in funding.

In the town hall video linked above, Johns spoke to his passion for game development. Voters can get a further sense of the developer’s savvy watching the Unreal Engine demo videos linked in the proposal:

CardanoSharp’s Unity SDK proposal looks to integrate similar functionality into the Unity engine. This separate proposal seeks $7,760 in funding, and demo videos are also available:

If you’d like to find more information or have questions/comments regarding CardanoSharp’s projects, check out their Unreal SDK proposal or their other proposals linked above.

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