Here Comes a New Trend: Construction on Virtual Land
Introduction: A Metaverse with blockchain
In a broad sense, a metaverse is understood to be a technological platform that makes it possible to create something within itself. That is, worlds in which other worlds can be created. We can take the Fortnite or Minecraft universes as an example.
Blockchain brings an important factor to this area: property ownership. It retains the rights to objects that the user has created or bought. And it allows you to monetize your world-building talents.
In addition to ownership, blockchain provides users with the functionality of disposing of their objects. That is, the user can rent them, give them to someone, or do nothing with them. Examples of such metaverses are Decentraland, Sandbox, and Cryptovoxels.
These two factors began to attract more and more people toward the concept of doing something in these metaverses: hold conferences, create buildings, exchange things, throw parties, create quests. And in addition to construction, you can communicate and make friends in these.
Why Companies Are Going to the Metaverse
Many people look at how metaverses are evolving and do not grasp what to do with them and what the prospects are. Some people are deterred by this and some, on the contrary, get immersed into study.
So it was with Bitcoin. When it appeared, many did not understand what it was, drew parallels between it and things they didn’t like in the world, and did not study it at all. Others (geeks, enthusiasts) looked at it all, and something inside them resonated. They felt that this new concept was something awesome and that it would show itself in the future, and they began to study it.
The reason for the casual user to get involved is that world-building is a fun toy; they are participating more for fun and out of curiosity. It has never been so easy to buy land and build some unusual object on it.
The reason that companies get involved is to maintain their image. As long as companies come from the crypto segment (like Binance, Kraken, CoinGecko) they understand that this is very important for their image. After them, companies from the digital and gaming industries began to connect: Atari, HTC, and others. They want to be part of this movement and come to the metaverse to build something.
That is, this is not even PR or a promo, since the market is still so small that the exposure is small. Companies are just showing they are in on the latest trend.
The history of construction in Decentraland
As in the ordinary world, it all started with empty space. Decentraland opened its world to users in 2020. There were basic buildings from the founders, but it was mostly empty.
Decentraland is already well developed in 2021. Many companies have opened their offices here. There are shopping malls, casinos, event venues, and galleries.
It all started with the construction of simple objects. These were ordinary office buildings meaning branded spaces with windows and doors, sometimes with pictures. Such buildings contain information about the company: links to company resources, logos, slides.
This is what office visits looked like: a user came around, looked around, and walked away or went to the company website. As an example of such office buildings in Decentraland, one can name Rarible, Winklevoss Capital, CoinGecko and Fashion Coin.
Soon companies began creating offices with grand openings and distribution of digital clothing for avatars. And within the interior of the office, NPCs started appearing. These are programmed characters who speak a prepared text. An NPC usually tells the story of the company and tells you where and what can be found in the office. Inside the building, there would be found stands that offered free distribution of branded in-game items.
Examples of such offices in Decentraland are the Binance US and Kraken buildings. The companies invited DJs who played music and event managers who welcomed guests and helped them settle into the new space. There are also branded NFT-caps and NFT-hoodies to be claimed. By the way, you can still get free items at the Binance office. Many guests usually gathered for such an opening because there was an opportunity to meet someone interesting.
The visiting script has become more complicated, and started looking something like this: a user would be invited, they came and interacted with objects, hung out and talked with people via chat or voice to learn more about the company, received free branded things, and then went away. This way the user got more emotions and interacted with the brand for longer.
In 2021, companies are already inventing and implementing interactive quests. In addition to the building, they created mini-games or mini-quests to involve people in the project. For example, the Free TON project, together with DappCraft studio, created such a quest in Decentraland and attracted 1000 people to the Telegram channel.
Let’s describe the mechanics of such a quest to show you what the metaverse is capable of. The user enters the office by climbing up the appearing crystals. There, he gets to know the project, and if he approaches an NPC he gets a special item.
A special quest involves subscribing to the project’s Telegram channel. The NPC automatically checks this subscription and then issues a pickaxe. With it, users need to break the crystal in the room. Each impact is accompanied by a sound effect and the crystal is visually reduced.
When the user completely breaks the crystal a small crystal falls out onto the floor. If you pick it up, a special window will be displayed: “Congratulations! You have received 5 crystals.”
The amount is chosen at random, and the crystals are actually TON tokens. This got people involved in the Free TON brand a lot.
As far as prediction-making is concerned, soon, there will be buildings that change based on events that happen in real-time. And the information about these events will be transferred to the blockchain using oracles.
This direction of construction is called Data-Driven Architecture and it will be associated with data visualization for buildings. For example, you could create a building in the metaverse made of cubes. And their size and color will change depending on the price of cryptocurrencies in real-time. Or you could connect the tools that enable reception of data from weather sensors outside the window and transfer them to the metaverse. Then, if it rains outside, it will also rain on the territory of the company building.
Another direction for visualization data is Data-Driven Wearables. This direction 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 shirt will change its brightness or texture, in general, depending on what’s going on 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, users will be able to connect a neural interface, which keeps track of mood indicators using brain activity. The avatar will react based on the state of the user. This will allow you to customize your clothes to adapt to your changes in mood. For example, if the mood is bad, the T-shirt will be black. And if the user laughs, bright yellow.
Construction companies in the metaverses
For all strategic partners and important clients, the Decentraland team creates its own buildings. But companies can also apply directly to the production studios in the metaverse (Metaverse Studio Production). They provide commercial construction services in the 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 with the creators of the metaverse directly. DappCraft is one of those studios.
DappCraft has been operating since 2019 and accepts construction orders: from simple offices to the most complex ideas with data visualization and smart contract integration. The studio team consists of 14 specialists. Using this example, we will show what specialists are needed to solve different types of problems.
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, where there are 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. There you can also program in simple logic yourself: if the user takes the key, the door will open and there will be a secret link with a prize behind the door. The finished building can be immediately sold or you can look for clients.
If you break down the construction task in the metaverse into functions, you will need at least a programmer and a designer. It will take them a month to 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 crypto wallet is, how to connect it. And a designer needs to be able to work with 3D modeling programs.
The most incredible challenges will require a large team. It does not have to be 14 people, like DappCraft, but it is advisable to fill these positions (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. This means he can go straight to programming the scene.
- 3D modeler. He will make various unique models that are not available anywhere and that you can only imagine.
- 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, give hints, and provide support. In brief, he is a guide for users. For example, casinos in Decentraland employ a separate person who greets visitors like they would in a real casino.
- Blockchain programmer. One of those will be required to solve problems related to NFT and smart contracts, for example, write unique properties and non-standard characteristics for them.
- Manager. A person who will synchronize all processes and negotiate with everyone in the team.
This does not include managers who lead the project and people who are involved in finance and company management, only those specialists who are directly involved in the construction and creation of unique things in the metaverse.
In 2021, a new trend is emerging: construction in a 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’re in on what’s trending and that they follow how the technology is developing.
Building in the metaverse opens up new ways of interacting with users through 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, offices were built: branded premises with the company’s symbols and logo. After that, they started including functionality like grand openings, invited DJs, and hired event managers who met users and helped them navigate.
In addition to offices, companies are now requesting various elements to be designed that help increase engagement, for example, a pre-programmed quest with animation and sound effects. And in the future it will be possible to build buildings that will change in real-time, depending on the data received.
Metaverse Studio Production specializes in studios that help companies build something 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.