Computer games have long turned into metaverses: virtual worlds where you can build your own worlds. In this article we will discuss construction on virtual lands in Decentraland, the companies that visit there, and the teams that are building everything.
Metaverse with blockchain
In a broad sense, the metaverse is understood to be a technological platform that makes it possible to create something within itself: worlds in which other worlds can be created. Let’s take the Fortnite or Minecraft universes as an example.
Blockchain brings an important factor into this sphere: property ownership. It helps retain the rights to objects that the user has created or bought. And it provides the opportunity to monetize your world-building talents.
In addition to ownership, blockchain gives you the ability to manage your objects. That is, the user can rent them, give them to someone, or do nothing with them. Examples of such metauniverses are Decentraland, Sandbox and Cryptovoxels.
With time, these two factors began to attract more and more people to do something in these metauniverses: hold conferences, build buildings, exchange things, throw parties, create quests. In addition to construction, you can communicate and make friends in these worlds.
Why Companies Are Exploring The Concept of Metaverse
Many people look at how the Metaverse is evolving and don’t understand what to do with it and what the prospects are. That stops some people from looking further, and some people, on the contrary, dedicate themselves to research. So it was with Bitcoin.
When it appeared, many did not understand what it was, juxtaposed it with everything bad in the world that it could enhance, and didn’t do their research. Others — geeks, enthusiasts — looked at it all, and something inside them resonated. They felt that this was something cool that would reveal its potential in the future and so they began to study it.
The reason for ordinary users to build something here is that this is concept is a cool plaything and they are here more for fun and curiosity. It has never been so easy to buy land and build some unusual object on it.
The reason for companies to explore this field is to maintain their image. Most companies started coming over from the crypto segment: Binance, Kraken, CoinGecko. They understood that this is very important for their image.
After them, companies from the digital and gaming industries began to connect and put things together: Atari, HTC. They want to be part of this movement and come to the metaverse to build something. That is, this is more than PR or promotion since the market is so small so far that the coverage will be small. Companies are just showing they are in the know.
History of construction in Decentraland
As in the ordinary world, it all started from empty space. Decentraland opened its world to users in 2020. In that world, there were basic buildings provided by the founders, but it was mostly empty.
Decentraland is already well developed in 2021. Many companies have opened virtual offices here for brands. There are now shopping malls, casinos, event venues, galleries.
It all started with the construction of simple objects. These were ordinary office buildings, that is, branded spaces with windows and doors, sometimes with pictures. Such buildings contain information about the company: links to company resources, logos, slides. A visit to such offices looks like so: the user came over, looked at stuff, and left, or went to the company’s website. Examples of such offices in Decentraland include the buildings of Rarible, Winklevoss Capital Fashion, CoinGecko, and Coin.
Rarible office | Get to the building
Winklevoss Capital office | Get to the building
CoinGecko Office Building | Go to the building
Office of the company Fashion Coin | Get to the building
Afterward, the company began creating offices with grand openings and distribution of digital clothing for the avatar. And inside the office, an NPC appeared — a programmed character who speaks a prepared text. He usually tells the story of the company and tells you where and what is in the office. Stands featuring free distribution of branded in-game items appeared inside the building.
Examples of such offices in Decentraland are the Binance and Kraken buildings. Companies invited DJs who played music and event managers who welcomed guests and helped them settle into the new space. They also handed out branded NFT caps and NFT hoodies. By the way, you can still get free stuff in the Binance office. Many guests usually gathered for such an opening, so there was an opportunity to meet someone interesting.
The visit scenario became more complicated and looked something like this: the user was invited, came, interacted with objects, hung out and talked with people via chat or voice, found out more about the company, received free branded items, and only then left. This way the user got more emotions and interacted with the brand for longer.
Inauguration of the Kraken office | Get to the building
In 2021, companies are already inventing and implementing interactive quests. In addition to the buildings, they create a mini-game or mini-quest to involve people in the project. For example, the Free TON project, together with the DappCraft studio, created such a quest in Decentraland and attracted 1000 people to their Telegram channel.
Let’s describe the mechanics of the quest to show what the metaverse is capable of. The user enters the office by climbing up crystals that appear. There he gets acquainted with the project and if he approaches the NPC, he will come up with a special task for the user.
This is what the Free TON project office looks like from the outside | Get to the building
A special task is to subscribe to the project’s Telegram channel. The NPC automatically checks this subscription and then issues a pickaxe. With it, the user needs to break the crystal. Each hit is accompanied by a sound effect and the crystal is visually reduced.
When the user completely breaks the crystal, a small crystal will fall out on the floor. If you pick it up, a window will be displayed: "Congratulations! You have received 5 crystals. " The amount drops out at random, and the crystals equal TON tokens. This lottery people deeper into an exploration of the Free TON brand.
Other examples of interactive quests are Neo DCL City, Pixels for Madagascar, Coin Rush. They all work and you can go to Decentraland right now and play.
As far as predictions go, in the near future, there will very possibly be buildings that change based on events that occur in real-time. And oracles will transfer information about these events to the blockchain. This direction of construction is called Data-Driven Architecture and it will be associated with data visualization for buildings.
For example, you could build a building in the metaverse made of cubes. And their size and color will change depending on the rate of cryptocurrencies in real-time. Or connect acquisition of data from weather sensors outside the window and transmit them to the metaverse. Then, if it rains outside, it will also rain on the territory of the company building.
Another direction for data visualization is Data-Driven Wearables. It will be associated with avatars and clothing. It will be possible to make an avatar that changes color, shape, or size.
For example, a user’s T-shirt will change its brightness or texture depending on what is happening in the world. Any data can be used: change in the exchange rate, change of day and night, growth in the number of subscribers in the Telegram channel.
In the future, the user will be able to connect a neural interface that monitors mood indicators using brain activity. And the avatar will react based on the state of the user. This can be customized so that the clothes change according to the changing mood. For example, if it is bad, the T-shirt will be black. And if the user is having a good time, it is bright yellow.
Construction companies in the metaverse
For strategic partners and important clients, the Decentraland team creates buildings independently. But companies can go directly to Metaverse Studio Production. They provide commercial construction services in metaverses.
Usually, studios prepare the entire visual and technical component and build on the customer’s land. Some are also partners with Decentraland and communicate directly with the creators of the metaverse. DappCraft is one such studio.
DappCraft has been operating since 2019 and accepts construction orders from simple offices to the most complex ideas that involve data visualization and smart contract integration. The studio team consists of 14 specialists. Using this example, we will illustrate which specialists are needed to solve different types of tasks.
The smallest set is one person who knows how to work with a computer and the Internet. You don’t need to know how to program to get started. In the metaverse, there are so-called builders that contain already ready-made blocks that can be edited and used.
The simplest building block can be made in an hour. It is very easy to add links to social networks and other resources in it. You can also write simple logic yourself: if the user takes the key, a door will open and there will be a secret link with a prize behind the door. The finished building can be immediately sold or a search for clients can begin.
If you break down the construction task in the metaverse into functions, you will need at least a programmer and a designer. In a month they will be able to do cool, interesting things and take orders.
It will be important for the programmer to be able to work with the API and connect to various sources. He should have minimal knowledge of the blockchain: how it works, what a wallet is, how to connect it. And it is important for a designer to be able to work with 3D modeling programs.
It will take a large team to tackle the most incredible challenges. The process does not have to involve 14 people, like DappCraft, but it is desirable to fulfill these vacancies (production functions):
- Backend programmer. He will be responsible for the server side, working with API, database management.
- Front-end programmer. Preferably from the computer games industry, so that he does not need to be retrained/can already program the scene.
- 3D modeler. He will make various unique models not available anywhere and that one can only dream of.
- Animator. This is not an artist but rather a 3D animation specialist. He will be responsible for creating animations: opening doors, dancing monsters, exploding fireworks.
- Event manager. He will communicate with people at the event, prompt, and support. He’s a guide for users. For example, casinos in Decentraland employ a separate person who greets visitors like they would in a real casino.
- Blockchain programmers will be required to solve problems related to NFT and smart contracts, for example, writing unique properties for them (non-standard characteristics).
- Manager. A person who will synchronize all processes and negotiate with everyone in the team.
This list does not include managers who lead the project and people who are involved in finance and company management, only those specialists directly involved in the construction and creation of unique things in the metaverse.
In 2021, a new trend is beginning to show itself: construction in the metaverse. Companies come to virtual lands to build an office or some unusual object.
They usually do this to maintain their image. Crypto projects were the first to do this, followed by digital and gaming companies. All of them want to show they know what’s happening around them and that they are keeping up with the progress of technology.
Construction in the metaverse opens up new ways of interacting with users using game mechanics — games, quests, performances by artists, visual presentation of external data. This will increase the involvement of the community around the company.
At first, they built offices — branded premises with the company’s symbols and logo. After that, they began to hold grand openings, invite DJs and hire event managers who met users and helped them navigate.
In addition to the office itself, companies are now adding various elements of engagement (for example, a pre-programmed quest with animation and sound effects). In the future, it will likely be possible to build buildings that will change in real-time depending on the data received.
Metaverse Studio Production is a studio that helps companies build in the metaverse. Designers, developers, managers work in them. One such studio is DappCraft which has been in operation since 2019 to help businesses connect with users in the metaverse.
Появление бренда в метавселенной может помочь лучше взаимодействовать со своими пользователями. Поэтому компании, такие как Gucci или Netflix, обычно обращаются к дизайнерам виртуальной реальности. В России подобные услуги предлагает студия Maff Metaverse.
Author: Andrei Lapushkin
Illustrator: Ekaterina Yarmarkina