Dark Forest is proof of many new ideas at once. It shows how advanced cryptography can be used to improve online worlds. Zero-knowledge proof is the basis of new games and applications that are inspired by Dark Forest.

Gubsheep and others have created an R&D organization called 0xPARC to support this work. Bhardwaj did an internship at 0xPARC.

There is more to 0xPARC than gaming. The group is interested in digital identification. The passport example is a good one to recall. It's possible to prove things about yourself without revealing anything. You can show that you have more than a certain amount of money in your bank account without revealing the actual amount. Gubsheep says that it is possible to use zero-knowledge cryptography to prove that you have used a machine-learning algorithm on a sensitive data set.

A new vision for the metaverse?

Zero knowledge isn't the only focus. While Dark Forest's use of cryptography is innovative, it's even more compelling that it's an online environment that no one can take down.

Dark Forest has existed in temporary instances that last for a couple of weeks. A Dark Forest world could be deployed in such a way that no one would have the ability to stop it, according to computer scientist and 0xPARC co-founding member. He says that it can't be taken down.

A smart contract is like a robot that can live in digital space for a long time. Unless a mechanism is installed to kill the program, it won't stop. The virtual world would be more akin to a digital planet than a game according to Glibert.

There is a digital planet. He says whatever the world's rules can be. Dark Forest players have built in-game marketplaces, tools that automate game functions, and even bots that can play the game on their own. Anyone can copy, modify, and build on it.

The team at 0xPARC is focused on creating systems that make it easier for game developers to create worlds that can be interacted with and created by the inhabitants.

Gubsheep thinks this is the development of the internet. He says that the digital world is becoming more and more meaningful. He thinks that people will be less likely to accept a version of the metaverse that is governed by a company.

What they will want instead is “a credibly neutral substrate for people to express themselves in relatively unconstrained ways and to self-organize and self-govern,” he argues. “That’s a much more powerful vision of the metaverse to me, and one that I hope 0xPARC’s experiments can contribute to.”