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Balthazar Research Report: Get Ready For Photo Finish Racing

7/10 – Good

Pre released game score

Photo Finish Racing is an auspicious project with industry veterans leading the charge. We are eagerly awaiting the updates bringing horse racing to the masses.

Section scores

Background – 6.5
NFT Game Assets – 8
Website – 7.5
Artwork – 6
Team – 8.5
Whitepaper – 5.5
Socialnomics – 6

Read More on Explaining the Scoring.

Written by Nicholas Korsgård, Chief Gaming Officer, Kim Bjerkeli and Sigurd Thomassen, Game Strategists, Balthazar Alpha Team and Heidi Anette Laugsand Johansen

Introduction

Horse racing games are a very fickle and difficult market to approach and experience within the space is completely necessary for success. Luckily the creators of Photo Finish Racing are veterans in the field and have previously created two of the most famous horse racing games with over 13 million downloads. So if anyone were to make a great Horse Racing game, it would be the team behind Photo Finish Racing.

In the following research report, we will be looking into Photo Finish Racing, a live play-to-earn virtual horse racing game. Photo Finish Racing offers several aspects to the players, which will determine the winner of the race instead of utilizing a random number generator to choose the winner. 

The website states that the winners in this simulation game will require skills, stats, and, never the least, a generation of breeding, deserving of that first place. By utilizing ‘’live’’ NFTs, this racing game opens for in-depth racing and a 24/7 live feed for anyone who might be on the fence about joining in.

Their roadmap states that the Photo Finish Racing live beta is in the making. It further shares that they will launch a mobile app beta launch in Q3-Q4 2022.

Additionally, we will be looking into the features of this game, NFTs, their website, blockchain, the team, investors, and more. We will also be giving our own verdict on this game-to-be. So, don’t put the cart before the horse, but follow us through this research report on Photo Finish instead.

Background


Photo Finish Racing is a live P2E virtual horse game by Third Time, Inc. built on the Solana blockchain, with NFTs that include unique generational features. The Generation Zero horses are limited to 5,000 available units, bred by the early access NFTs. The creator wants this game to stand out among its peers, which utilize simple RNGs (random number generators). Photo Finish’s solution is that they have implemented both complex and scientific approaches to utilizing breeding. In this way, the winner is based on attributes and elements that mimic real-life factors. A competitor to this game would be Pegaxy, with over 140,000 discord members.

The founder of Third Time, Ian Cummings, also created “The Suites,” a virtual hangout to meet like-minded fans of teams and sports or even create events on the Solana blockchain. Many of the team members in this very successful platform, which sold out in under a second, worked alongside Ian for the Photo Finish Racing project. Because of this, we have reason to believe that this game studio knows what they are doing to reach success. In addition, we might speculate how all these projects may eventually come together as one huge metaverse, but more on that later.

Screenshot borrowed from: https://thesuites.app

History

Previously the creators of Photo Finish racing have created two of the most famous horse racing games, “Photo Finish” and “Horse Racing Manager,” with an astounding record of over 13 million downloads.

The team has a long history of working together and has created two critical pieces of technology to sustain and support these games: 

  • An advanced server-based race simulation 
  • A genetics-based breeding simulation. 

Instead of relying solely on RNGs, these factors are also added to the mix to find the most deserving winner of the race. Photo Finish Racing is a project for the team to continue creating fun games and advanced technology in horse racing, which seems to be their specialty based on their previous two games.

Screenshot borrowed from whitepaper https://thirdtimedev.gitbook.io/photo-finish-2-nft-horse-racing-whitepaper/upcoming-plans/our-history

Features Of The Game


Race Simulations

The race simulator allows for up to 20 horses on the field simultaneously. One of the exciting aspects for horse race enthusiasts and gamers is that the simulation is highly accurate with its visuals, resulting in down to the millisecond per furlong. Pegaxy, as an example, hosts 15 horses per game. 

The game will also be spectator friendly, which is perfect for any player or fan of the sport to have a peek at the races and even place real money wagers on races. Their previous game, “Horse Racing Manager,” was able to simulate races for 3+ years, every single minute of every day.

For this reason, we have close to no doubt regarding their spectator feature and the outcome. The simulation example video, which we can find in the whitepaper, is visually pleasing, and the team states that the quality of the entire platform will improve further. Their goal is to upgrade all the assets and get as close to photo-realistic quality as possible. In addition, the race simulation technology which the team has created has also been broadcasted on the nationally Triple Crown races, which can be seen on NBC each year.

Screenshot borrowed from whitepaper. Example of one of the studios’ race simulations. The team plans to upgrade all assets for the launch for Phono Finish Racing: https://thirdtimedev.gitbook.io/photo-finish-2-nft-horse-racing-whitepaper/upcoming-plans/our-history

Real Money Racing And Spectator Wagering

Every minute of the day, the players will be able to join in on various races. According to the website, the players pay an entry fee to enter the race, and the winners will receive their rewards once the race is completed. 

The race simulator comprises several real-life factors, ranging from the weather and track conditions to the horses’ genetics and lane preferences. As previously mentioned, the spectator aspect of the game allows for real money wagers on races before they happen. 

We would assume that to make the best bet; the spectator would need to be familiar with the genetics of the competitors and take the real-life factors into account as well. After a race is locked and all competitors have been gathered, there will be a 15-30 minute (time might change) betting window for expert tippers and punters to place bets. The odds will change as the wages are put, and the winners will be announced in real-time with the live virtual racing system.

 However, we do want to mention that not all countries or areas allow for participating in betting through games and there could be potential regulation issues. This could be a possible downside of the wagering aspect of the game.

 Screenshot borrowed from https://photofinishhorseracing.com/#features

Genetics-Based And Real-Life Factors

The advanced genetic-based breeding simulation is the creators’ pride and lifeblood of Photo Finish Racing. Many games rely on RNG, but this team has made it clear that they want more than that for their players and game-base. Using genetics-based and real-life factors can create authentic racing in their games. Their whitepaper states that “we’ve truly built the most authentic and deep breeding simulation on the market, and it WORKS.”

The main idea is that all the horses, NFTs, have their individual collection of attributes determined by genes. The further the breeding continues, the more robust and sturdy their offspring will be, depending on their bloodline and previous generations’ strengths. 

Examples of genetic-based attributes could be coat color, temper, speed, stamina, target distances, preferred track conditions. Other information could include if the horses start quickly, finishes fast, and anything between. Because of this, being a breeder with an eye for detail could be key to success in this game. 

On the other hand, the game’s deep collection of attributes ensures that no horse is ever perfect, meaning there are infinite strengths and weaknesses to explore to find the best racing horse. Real-life factors, such as weather, distance, track, surface, and more also contribute to the algorithm of this game, making every race unique and entertaining.

A list of the most number of breeds per studs, borrowed from Twitter: https://twitter.com/photofinishgame/status/1519780923029532678/photo/1

Horse Lifespans And Marketplace

In addition, the game has a limit to the horses’ lifespans, thus making it a ‘’live NFT’’. A horse will age by one year for every four weeks in real life. This measure ensures a constant pull of future generation horses coming in and out of the market. Apart from the initial drops, the community will be responsible for creating new foals for future generations and new players. You can acquire a horse by either breeding it, or buying it from the marketplace.

As in real life and in this game, there are various things to do with a horse, such as entering races, breeding, caring for it in your stable, or training them. The player can then enter the horse in races that the players think they can win. Alternatively, you can also sell the horse to another player to make a profit.

According to the website, the marketplace will be no exception for building authenticity and an accurate horse racing universe. Buying, selling, and trading horses will happen through utilizing NFTs, which are forever provable and verifiable on the blockchain.

Screenshot borrowed from https://photofinishhorseracing.com/#features

NFT Game Assets


Photo Finish Racing opened for early access NFTs sales in Q4 of 2021, with a minting price of 0.2 SOL. In total, 10,000 “Stylish Studs” and 5,000 “Fine Fillies” were minted, and in April of 2022, the breeding opened and ended 27th of April 2022, by the request of the community to extend it seven days. 

The Stylish studs could be bred infinite times, while the Fine Filly was limited to once, which means that only 5,000 “Generation 0” horses could ever be born. As a result, 4,350 “Generation 0” racehorses were bred after the breeding opened and closed. These Generation Zero racehorses will be the base for many generations to come and will be the first “living” NFTs that players will use to race in PVP events (and much more) and earn money by doing so.

For those players with the early access NFTs, there is a special perk, which includes special VIP passes, VIP pre-sales and more, into the platform’s ecosystem.

The “Stylish Studs’’

There were 10,000 Stylish Studs created by minting. All Stylish Studs could reproduce an infinite number of times.

Screenshot borrowed from whitepaper https://thirdtimedev.gitbook.io/photo-finish-2-nft-horse-racing-whitepaper/early-access/early-access-nfts

The “Fine Fillies”

There were 5,000 Fine Fillies created by minting. One Fine Filly could only reproduce once, resulting in a maximum of 5,000 possible Generation Zero racehorses. Once the Fine Filly has been bred, the NFT will be replaced by a “Marvelous Mare,” identical to the previous Filly but has an added MM ticket. This way, the Fine Fillies may only be bred once.

Screenshot borrowed from whitepaper https://thirdtimedev.gitbook.io/photo-finish-2-nft-horse-racing-whitepaper/early-access/early-access-nfts

Screenshot borrowed from ThirdTime Medium: https://thirdtime.medium.com/your-ticket-to-racing-19db0778a329

“Generation Zero” Horses

The Generation Zero horses are the first NFTs that will touch the racing field with their hooves and create generations to come of racehorses. One hundred fifty programmatically generated traits have been inherited by the early access NFTs. 

As previously mentioned, examples of genetic-based attributes could be coat color, temper, speed, stamina, target distances, preferred track conditions, and even if the horses start quickly, finish fast, and anything between. 

In addition, each Generation Zero horse has been given a baseline for its performance illustrated by a grade which ranks from D-C-B-A-S-SS, with plus and minus marks. Starting from there, it would now be the job of the horse owners to train, take care of, and breed generations to come. The NFTs will be sold, bought, and traded in the marketplace, which the community and ecosystem will control.

Tokenomics


The two native tokens in Photo Finish 2 – $CROWN & $DERBY – are fungible tokens that drive all interactions in the game and can be traded on open exchanges.

$CROWN

$CROWN is the primary governance token utilized by the DAO. There is a fixed supply that will not grow (unless the DAO were to decide to issue more in the future). Owners of Stylish Studs, Spooky Studs & Fine Fillies earn $CROWN through periodic airdrops at a rate that increases with the amount and rarity rankings of their NFTs. $CROWN is the sole way to purchase an officially sanctioned race track license each season to earn a cut of $DERBY from races and wagers.

The token distribution for $CROWN is as follows: 250,000,000 (100%) in total.

  • 125,000,000 (50%) – Distributed to the community via airdrops every four weeks.
  • 17,500,000 (7%) – Allocated to equity seed round investors (one-year vesting period).
  • 52,500,000 (21%) – Allocated to development team (six month cliff, two year vesting period).
  • 55,000,000 (22%) – Remains in treasury for upcoming growth initiatives (IDO, Marketing, Partnerships, etc.).

$DERBY

The $DERBY token is an inflationary token that acts as a native in-game currency utilized for transactions like race entry fees, breeding new foals, and paying stud fees. Each transaction on the platform, even if represented as fiat or native cryptocurrency value, is made exclusively in $DERBY. Players can earn $DERBY in many ways, through selling NFT Horses, stud fees, operating racetracks, participating in races, referring new players, wagering, and more.

Screenshot borrowed from the whitepaper: https://thirdtimedev.gitbook.io/photo-finish-2-nft-horse-racing-whitepaper/our-platform/tokenomics ****

Photo Finish Website


We compared Photo Finish’s desktop version of the website to its mobile site to see how it measures up and if there were any changes that Photo Finish could make to the site to improve it. Follow along to see our verdict. In this testing, we used a Samsung Galaxy S10+.

Desktop

Upon entering the website, it appears to be transparent and clean. The site had a menu at the top of the website, which promotes the different aspects of the website. This would make it easy for any user to find their way around. In addition, when clicking on any option or button, for instance, “roadmap,” the user would be automatically shown that part of the website. The background video is subtle while still giving the feel of the game. 

Additionally, the website was straight to the point, starting with explaining the concept of this game. Some of the websites we’ve tested so far have lacked information available. However, when we browsed through the Photo Finish website, we felt like there was a lot of information available about this game, the background, and the token distribution, which was a nice change.

The creators had stuck to a theme for the website. And the colors complemented each other, making them easy on the eye. The layout was also complementary to both pictures and text. 

For the game’s roadmap, the website’s creators had added arrows and three dots, representing that the user would have to click to see more. The tokenomics part of the website had an easy-to-understand layout, where the user connects to browse the distribution of the token. At the same time, they also added pictures to symbolize the values and support the text.

The team and advisors-part of the website were also made clear with links to the different members’ Linkedin, with no issue opening the links. The pictures fit nicely on the computer screen, and the quality of the photos was, for the most part, similar, which gave a professional feel to the website. The investors section had an added effect when hovering the computer mouse over it. Lastly, Photo Finish’s Discord and Twitter had been added for the user to check out.

Phone Usability

The mobile site of Photo Finish has a cropped background, like many others we’ve tested previously. In this case, it was also the video. Nevertheless, the cropped video is visually pleasing, but the live ranking system, which you can see on the website version, is nonexistent on the mobile site. In addition, the Menu that appeared while using the website, doesn’t appear on the mobile site. Judging by this, it’s safe to assume that the automatic click function does not work on mobile.

Although the website took advantage of a broader layout, the mobile site still looked professional with a more extended look. The mobile site honestly looked like the creators put a lot of effort into it. It was nicely balanced, the effects added worked well, and it was made very clear to the user when it’s needed to swipe or click to see more. 

The team and advisor section of the website was also appealing, with nice size photos which complement the mobile screen. As for the investors, the effect when hovering the computer mouse didn’t work on the mobile site, and the logos’ were an odd size. Overall, the mobile site gave a good experience when testing, and the links for LinkedIn, the investors, and social media worked nicely.

The Verdict

The website on both devices was perceived as professional, and the layouts chosen for the mobile and computer suited each screen in a very satisfying manner. The effects had been kept on the down-low, but the added effects worked well. The creators of this website also made it very clear to the user whenever the user had to click to see more. In the Alpha Team, we appreciate user-friendliness, so this is a huge plus. 

The website was informative, stuck to a theme, and all links worked as a user would expect. The mobile site was missing the menu, and the investor logos were awkwardly small, but we enjoyed this website even with these minor issues. It’s worth mentioning that the “blog” and “career’ options in the menu could be a struggle to find for the regular mobile site user because of the missing menu. We would also appreciate seeing the whitepaper added to the website; however, it doesn’t ruin the experience for us. We loved this website and enjoyed testing it. The information was good, the site was balanced, and the layout fit each device nicely.

Blockchain


What Chain Does The Game Run On?

Photo Finish Racing builds its NFTs and token economy on Solana.

Solana is open-source, and the project implements a new, high-performance, permissionless blockchain. The entity that maintains the project is “The Solana Foundation,” which is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Solana claims to be the fastest blockchain globally and the fastest-growing ecosystem in crypto. It has projects spanning DeFi, NFTs, Web3, and more.

Solana focuses on scaling for global adoption. The motto is “Integrate once and never worry about scaling again.” Due to this scaling, Solana can ensure transaction costs remain less than $0.01 for developers and users. The blockchain is also fast, with 400 millisecond block times. With improvements in hardware as time goes on, block times will also get faster. Finally, Solana claims to be censorship-resistant, where the network will be open for applications to run freely, and transactions will never be stopped.

Solana manages to be this fast due to leveraging 40 years of distributed systems development, as we can see with centralized databases. Solana can leverage this because they found a way to share time without nodes relying upon one another. Solana’s blockchain protocol uses the concepts of a centralized database where it verifies the passing of time while keeping several decentralized attributes without conferring with a central clock. 

The consensus method is called Proof of History (PoH) and is what adds the element of time to the blockchain. PoH is designed to verify the time passing between transactions on the chain. When time is a factor, the blocks will be in chronological order, and none of this is dependent on centralized clocks or timestamps.

Solana accomplishes the verification of time by selecting a network node to be the leader. Being a leader node means that it adds entries to the ledger, also called a transaction validator. The leader is also the one that generates the sequence for Proof of History. Having this leader do all the sequencing of messages results in maximum efficiency and throughput. When the leader has made its sequence, it is sent to replicator nodes called validators. Validators are in charge of verification for the consensus algorithm.

To ensure decentralization and some sort of equilibrium, leaders have to be rotated. New leader nodes are chosen according to a leader schedule, which decides which validator gets to lead next, as there can only be one leader at any given time. The Proof of Stake elections chooses the leader schedule, encompassing the validator nodes. 

Proof of Stake (PoS) is a consensus algorithm that comes in several flavors. We’ve talked about them in our reports on Tezos and Algorand. The PoS mechanism uses a Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) mechanism called Tower Consensus in Solana. Tower Consensus uses the PoH mechanism as a global source of time before consensus is achieved.

The video below explains Solana’s PoH concept in a simple way.

Our Thoughts On The Chain?

Photo Finish Racing’s choice of building on Solana is easy to understand. Having had two successful NFT launches on the blockchain before through the “Stylish Studs” and “Fine Fillies” PFP collection.

Solana is undoubtedly fast and low-cost when it comes to transactions. These pros are necessities in a game’s native economy. The blockchain is also perceived as THE blockchain for gaming in the general crypto community because of said pros, alongside the sheer size of the blockchain regarding market cap. However, we in the Alpha Team don’t necessarily believe that Solana is the go-to gaming chain in its current shape, as there are a few others out there with a lot of promise. Furthermore, Solana has had its share of drama regarding decentralization and general uptime.

The case for Solana not being sufficiently decentralized can easily be seen in the picture below comparing the initial token distribution of several blockchains. Solana had nearly 50% of the native SOL tokens used for governance held by Venture Capital investors, developers, and other insiders. However, when comparing this to blockchains like Tezos or Ethereum, significantly fewer insiders had tokens initially. Although Solana is an open-source project and a public blockchain, critics argue it is still privately owned due to the large portion of ownership allocated across insiders.

Why does this matter, though? Why is this a problem? With the PoS consensus algorithm Solana applies, token holders running a “full node” is what validates the blockchain. In short, the blockchain’s security is in the hands of those who hold the nodes and how many nodes participate in the network. In Ethereum’s case, there are, at the time of writing, 3026 full nodes, whereas Solana has 1732. With insiders initially owning almost half of all SOL tokens used by full nodes to validate the blockchain, it doesn’t look the best for decentralization. Put into perspective, the top 10 Solana wallets hold about 15% of the circulating supply.

 

Sourced from https://twitter.com/RyanWatkins_/status/1394283802009145348/photo/1

Due to Solana’s low transaction cost, attackers managed to barrage the blockchain with transactions, overloading its memory capacity. An attack like this has happened more than once and led to a 48-hour downtime at one point. The core team had to restart the network to get it back up and running, which in our eyes, is not something a centralized group of developers should have access to in a decentralized blockchain, and this breaks the illusion of decentralization.

There are also some worries around Solana’s PoH mechanism. Due to its deterministic block creation, it is possible to predict the next producer (leader) in line, providing an attack vector. For example, a malicious actor could attack the subsequent 100 block validators in line and avoid attempting an attack on the whole network. There is also the possibility of combining such an attack with a 51% stake to gain control over the network. However, attackers would not need a 51% stake to carry out such an attack due to PoH, as an attacker could DDoS the next stakeholder in line due to the deterministic block creation. If you’re interested in reading more about some of Solana’s vulnerabilities, Justin Bons, founder and CIO of Cyber Capital, has an interesting Tweet thread about it here.

Even with Solana’s apparent risks and worries, it is still the blockchain that has processed the most transactions, more than all other major networks combined. And it has a plethora of financially strong backers to help iron out these wrinkles. Among them is the CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried.

A strong point of these financial muscles can be seen in the recent Wormhole hack, which is a bridge linking Ethereum to Solana. About $320 million was stolen in this hack, and the Solana side of the bridge was the one suffering. After a short time, Wormhole announced that funds had been restored, and the one who covered was the trading company Jump Trading. This shows how deep pockets the Solana backers and community have and are willing to put up to keep moving forward.

Having said all this, Solana could still prove to be a good choice for games, but time will tell if the Solana community manages to deal with the apparent flaws in the blockchain. There should at least be enough money to fund such problem-solving and it seems the community is stronger than ever due to recent NFT hype.

Team


Who Is On The Team?

  • Ian Cummings – Founder / CEO https://www.linkedin.com/in/iantcummings/
    • Founder & CEO (2015-present) at Third Time Inc. A game-dev studio in Orlando, Florida. Currently working on Photo Finish Racing, and The Suites.
    • Sr. Director / Studio GM (2019-2021) at Glu Mobile.
    • Director of Design (2015-2016) at FanDuel Inc.
    • VP / Creative Director (2015-2016) at PopUp Play.
    • Director of Design (2013-2015) at Zynga.
  • Paul Fleetwood – CTO https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulfleetwood/
    • CTO (2021-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Technical Director (2019-2021) at Glu Mobile.
    • Studio Technical Director (2016-2019) at Third Time Inc.
    • Technical Director (2015-2016) at FanDuel Inc.
    • Senior Software Engineer (2011-2015) in companies such as SPLYT, Knetik, and IZEA.
    • Senior Software Engineer (2006-2011) at Electronic Arts (EA).
  • Brian Fleming – CCO https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-fleming-539bb915/
    • Studio Art Director (2019-present) at Glu Mobile.
    • Studio Art Director (2016-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Art Director / UX Director (2015-present) at FanDuel Inc.
    • Art Director & Game Developer (2013-2015) at Zynga.
    • Senior User Interface Designer (2011-2013) at Row Sham Bow Inc.
    • Interface Designer (2005-2011) at Electronic Arts (EA).
  • Brian Peganoff – Head of Strategy / Partnerships https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-peganoff/
    • Advisor (2021-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Senior Director, Corporate Development & Strategy (2018-2021) at Glu Mobile.
    • VP, TMT and other roles (2004-2018) at Deutsche Bank.
  • Abhijit Lothe – VP / Engineering Lead https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhijit-lothe-4b7752/
    • VP of Engineering (2021-present) Third Time Inc.
    • Technical Director / Principal Engineer (2020-2022) at Electronic Arts (EA).
    • Sr. Manager of Software Engineering (2016-2020) at Magic Leap.
    • Senior Software Engineer (2015-2016) at FanDuel Inc.
    • Senior Software Engineer (2014-2015) at Zynga.
    • Lead Engineer (2005-2014) at Electronic Arts (EA).
  • Michael Edelnant – VP / Experience Director https://www.linkedin.com/in/medelnant/
    • VP, Experience Design (2021-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Sr. UX/UI Designer (2019-2021) at Electronic Arts (EA) and Glu Mobile.
    • Lead Product Designer (2016-2019) at HypGames.
    • Product Designer (2015-2016) at FanDuel Inc.
    • Senior Designer (2008-2015) at several other Companies.
    • Associate Interface Designer (2007-2008) at Electronic Arts (EA).
  • Justin Morgan – VP / Production https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-morgan-2859973/
    • Vice President of Production (2022-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Manager, Project Management (2018-2022) at Disney Parks & Resorts Digital.
    • Senior Park Manager (2016-2017) at Disney Parks & Resorts.
    • Sr Development Director (2015-2016) at FanDuel Inc.
    • PMO Director (2013-2015) at Viewpost.
    • Franchise Development Director and several other roles (2004-2012) at Electronic Arts (EA).
  • Christopher Vance – Principal Developer https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-jay-vance-5b84a756/
    • Principal Developer (2017-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Technical Designer (2016-2017) at Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy.
  • Paul Nirenberg – Senior Designer https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-nirenberg/
    • Game Designer (2019-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Lead Level Designer (2018-2019) at Epoch Games.
    • Puzzle Designer (2018-2019) at The Haunting Hour.
    • Lead Designer – Oracle: Threads of Fate (2017-2018) at Oracle Gaming Orlando.
    • Project Lead & Level Designer (2016-2017) at Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy.
  • Thomas Cargle – Game Developer https://www.linkedin.com/in/tjay-cargle/
    • Game Developer (2021-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Lead Developer (2020-2021) at Zygobot (Internship).
    • Java Software Engineer (2018-2020) at Infosys Ltd.
    • Java Software Engineer (2018) at Revature.
  • Jeremy Siegel – Community Manager / Composer https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-siegel-60864431/
    • Community Manager (2021-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Music Composer (1997-present) self-employed freelance.
  • Kyle Gray – Senior Software Engineer https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-gray16/
    • Senior Software Engineer (2022-present) at Third Time Inc.
    • Lead Engineer (2020-2022) at Sonic Leads & Development.
    • Software Engineer (2019-2020) at Availity.
    • Software Developer (2018-2019) at Inventory Source.
    • Intern Developer (2017-2018) at Global Infonet Inc.

Team Assessment

The team at Photo Finish Racing has already proved that they are up for the challenge as their metaverse project, “The Suites” NFTs, sold out in under a second. Following this, they set a record trading volume of $5m on the first day on the Solana blockchain.

It is clear to us that this team has unlocked the key to understanding the P2E arena of gaming and NFTs. The CEO and founder, Ian Cummings, has over 20 years of experience in game development and has managed many roles throughout his years, including leading a team of 150 people through tight deadlines. It is worth mentioning that several of the team members have worked alongside Cummings through EA, FanDuel Inc., GLU Mobile, and now Third Time, Inc.

We could go in-depth on most of the team members and trace them back to any of the companies mentioned above, showing their extensive experience in the industry. But to keep it short, we’ll look into Abhijit Lothe, the engineering lead with plenty of experience, including over ten years of professional game development on various platforms such as IOS, Android, PS2/3, and more. In addition, he has received awards for his excellent and hard work. 

Seemingly, this team works wonders together and has proved for years that this teamwork makes the dream work. Therefore, the team assessment is the least of our worries for this game based on their relevant experience and seemingly well-oiled machinery of a team.

Who Are Their Backers?

Roadmap


Game Developers Roadmap

Alpha Team’s Thoughts On The Roadmap

By looking at the roadmap, we can see that the Photo Finish team has already managed many of the goals according to the website information. They have an optimistic goal of a full platform launch and mobile app beta launch in Q3-4 2022, which is very soon. Although the team seems to have what it takes, we hope they aren’t rushing. We’ve seen games rush to the finish line, only to have a “high hype and then die young” moment.

Whitepaper


Link to the whitepaper: https://thirdtimedev.gitbook.io/photo-finish-2-nft-horse-racing-whitepaper/

Alpha Team’s General Thoughts On The Whitepaper

The whitepaper itself is a bit thin, but by reading and finding information on the website and looking through their Twitter, we were able to find quite a lot of information about this game. To some degree, the whitepaper tries to prove itself based on previous projects, using them as examples of how this new game will work. 

However, since this game seems to be a better and upgraded version of prior games, built similarly, we suppose it can pass, even though it’s a little vague basing this game on a previous one. Either way, the whitepaper explains well how the team thinks, what their goals are, and which technologies they have created to make this advanced and unique horse racing game. The whitepaper also explained the early access NFTs in a very coherent way, which gives a base understanding of how these 5,000 Generation Zero racehorses were formed and created.

The Alpha Team Reads Between The Lines – Big Picture Talk

The Third Time, Inc. has previously created horse race games. Two of their games reached 13 million downloads, and the NFTs for their game “The Suites” were sold out in under a second, demonstrating the supply and demand for a sports metaverse arena and horse racing. 

They have also created a healthy and logical way to avoid having too many NFTs available at any given time, which would help keep the market stable. A solution like this could imply that the creators have long-term goals for their creations.

In addition, this game doesn’t restrict the player to only racing. It could attract a more diverse player community, including players who play for fun, for breeding, to take care of the horses, those who enjoy spectating, and of course, the ones who love races. This could be an excellent first step to making the play-to-earn arena more mainstream and even attract more horse-loving people who might enjoy the part where you’d take care of your horse and train them more than the actual racing itself.

Furthermore, we could also speculate if this team has a bigger goal ahead, which will eventually tie all the knots and create one huge sports-metaverse for many games to come and create a platform for online betting and wagering.

However, we raised a question while researching this game: “What happens to the NFTs after their lifespan ends?” Will the NFTs be utterly useless, or will they become some sort of achievement or reward? Will the team still provide value to the expired NFTs? This is all something that we hope to see more information about in the future regarding the game.

Socialnomics


Social Media Followers Count

PlatformFollower Count
Discord25,254
Twitter15,745
Medium142

While the team has had several successful launches, as previously mentioned, they do have a lower social media following than could be expected. However, the discord members seem to be chatty and invested in this game-to-be. 

In addition, the game’s Twitter account seems to post several updates per day and was created back in March 2015. Their Twitter following has, among others, some big names such as @LadyofCrypto1, @CryptoGodJohn, and @SOLBigBrain.

Conclusion


After reading this report, you might feel a rush of amazement through your body. Previous horse racing games that Third Time Inc. created have had massive success with high download rates and have even been broadcasted on Triple Crown races on NBC. We think that this yearly broadcast featuring the teams’ simulation speaks for itself in terms of quality and reliability.

If our speculations are true, this might be the first huge metaverse arena to arrange live sports, make acquaintances, hang out and even make bets and wagers. However, hypothesizing aside, we do like the well-described and thought-through “live” NFT concept and all the traits and attributes that follow the creation of NFTs and future generations of horses. 

Creating a horseracing simulator while still being realistic and adding in the different genetic-based and real-life factors could definitely be a game-changer. The team also seems to be well put together, with members who have worked alongside each other for years.Through their achievements, we can see that they are able to make their projects into sweet realities.

By looking at their roadmap, this game has quite a fast-paced timeline. We’ve seen games that have been overhyped only to crash and burn, so hopefully, the team isn’t taking too much responsibility on themselves in too little time. Although we think the lifespan idea is genius, we also hope to see more information about what happens to these live NFTs after their lifespan ends. In conclusion, we are really excited for this game (and team) and can’t wait to follow along on its journey.

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