November 17th, 2022 Million Dollar Infrastructure for Tic-Tac-Toe By Jeffrey M. Barber

As I plot and scheme, I’m reflecting on what I have and where I need to be. As such, I have the guts of the infrastructure to power simple games like tic-tac-toe, and it only cost millions of dollars. I’m speaking of opportunity cost since I left my job at Meta in December of 2021 where I was a E8 (which is a director level engineer mirroring senior principal). It used to be, prior to the 70% drop of Meta, E8’s made bank. Fortunately, I practiced dollar cost averaging and sold all shares when I got them.

So, I present the multi-million dollar game of tic-tac-toe which may not work due to scale if this post goes viral (doubtful, but I can dream).

So, here I am with this shiny new infrastructure that I’ve dedicated my life towards, and it … works. I’m nowhere close to my end vision, but I have things workable. I’m playing with it more, and I’m enjoying it. My biggest problem right now is that I’m a bad entrepreneur in the modern sense of shipping incomplete things to people. As much love as I have put into the platform with 4000+ unit tests, monitoring, alarms, back-pressure, and other nice things; the platform is broken in many ways as I haven’t even implemented billing yet. The documentation is another beast to tackle, but I’ve got a good start.

Building enterprise grade infrastructure as a single developer is probably not viable on a normal timeline, so I’m at a pivot point. I’ve got many investments in-flight, and I like all of them. I love this infrastructure, so I’m going to state that the infrastructure is primarily for me at this point. That kind of sucks for you, but I’m making it open to people. You can use it with the classical warning of “buyer beware”. However, I intend to use as my primary back-end as I build complex digital products.

My company will then pivot in 2023 away from the SaaS angle since I want the infrastructure to be damn near perfect before I start to bill for it. Instead, I’m going to focus on the end vision which is ambitious as I build Adama.Games as a “roblox for board games”. I intend to ship a single game in 2023 built entirely within a new stack such that anyone can use the Adama IDE to build an online board game.

This new stack is the hardest way to build a single game because that unlocks the most potential, so I’ll take a second to do an inventory of technical assets that I need.

Asset Role Status 2023 Plan
Adama Platform Infrastructure for all the things; the ultimate back-end Workable Maintain it and do deep investigations into live issues. Extensions and built-outs will be directed by business need rather than a madman’s whims
RxHTML How I build web-sites Workable. Maintain and extend as needed. It is fairly mature in terms of web development. The current online IDE uses it.
RxImage (i.e. Roslin) A canvas surface for rendering interactive images, or yet another game engine. Specification has started, see roslin’s GitHub This is a major investment for building the single game. As an aspiration, I want to rally a few potential partners around the specification.
Card Editor A WYSIWYG editor that compiles to RxImage format I have a full WYSIWYG editor available (written in Rust using WebAssembly), but it is broken and out of alignment with the current roslin After building the core runtime for Roslin, the goal is to invest in upgrades to the Card Editor to export to the spec.

There are plenty of interesting of decisions that I’m making at the moment. For example, I intend to write the core implementation in pure JavaScript so that I can maximize the number of browsers supported. WebAssembly has ~96% rollout, and I suspect the gap is going to be limiting for some people. I also want to be as friendly to Apple’s ecosystem. I’m excited to get cracking on the engineering investments!

The important story is how these engineering investments manifest into a grand vision of a “Roblox for board games”, and the answer stems from the deep investment in building a new back-end. If the goal was to make a single game, then I could just use an existing game engine and tools. That misses the point as I’m building a new way to build games online without any prior experience. My ambition is to radically change how digital products are built… period, and I’m starting with board games because they are complex products.

The infrastructure is the connective goo to bring together people around the complex rules governing their interaction. RxHTML is how I turn that infrastructure into web applications, and the first app is the IDE. The card editor is how anyone could build the user experience of a board game with Adama as the driving force, and roslin is how players will actually interact with the game on a myriad of devices (phones, destkops, TV, consoles, etc…). The aspiration here is that building an online board game will cost publishers around $1000 to port a game online.

Once I have a single game, the business game unlocks! I hope you are excited as I am, but it’s ok if you are not. Seeing is believing, and the goal for 2023 is build a single game the hardest way possible.