Creating an NFT MMO: An Interview with Dan, Co-Founder of Immersys
Ahead of the Immersys Open Weekend starting at 8 UTC this Saturday, we caught up with co-founder Dan to discuss pixel art, virtual marketplaces, and the journey towards creating a true massively multiplayer NFT experience.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021. INTERVIEWS. WRITTEN BY HYDRO.
If there’s one type of game that’s had me hooked since I was old enough to click a mouse, it’s MMOs.
Runescape. World of Warcraft. Rift. Guild Wars 2. Final Fantasy FFXIV – these are just a select few of the multiplayer environments that have had me engrossed over the past 10+ years.
NFTs and MMOs seem to be such a natural fit for one another, which is was I was overjoyed to discover earlier this year that there’s such a game being developed on WAX – Immersys.
With their inaugural Open Weekend kicking off tomorrow at 8 UTC, now seemed the perfect time to catch up with Dan and see how the game has progressed, and what players can expect.
Read to the end of the interview for our Immersys Interview Card!
Pssst… there’s three hidden claim links within this article. Happy hunting!
Hydro: Hey! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
Dan: First off, thank you for holding this interview. I’m happy to have been able to watch NFT Insider from the beginning and see the project grow, and now be acquired by AtomicHub. Congratulations!
My name is Dan and I’m the Co-Founder of EleBlob & Immersys.io. I’m from the USA and I’ve mainly worked in customer service, tech sales and finance, prior to finding a passion for NFTs and crypto. Most recently, I owned a company that was selling AR/VR experiences for enterprise use.
I’ve always enjoyed creating board games and playing video games – introverted hobbies. I’ve forever loved the idea of making games, so one day I downloaded Unity and began watching tutorials.
Shortly after, I ran into a bug I couldn’t fix in my game, so I decided to go to Twitch to see if someone smarter than me could help debug it. That’s where I met my partner Imakestupidgames. We ended up working on EleBlob together – he coded, and I created the 2D assets.
While we were making EleBlob, one random night I stumbled upon AtomicHub and uploaded my first EleBlob, not even knowing what a NFT was. I got the notification that it was purchased off the secondary market immediately. I didn’t really understand what happened, so obviously I listed a few more, and again and again they were purchased right away. I made about 10k WAX without knowing what was going on.
The person who was buying them DM’ed me and offered to buy all the rest of my EleBlobs. That made me research into NFTs further, and now I’m working on a 3D virtual metaverse haha!
That’s an unorthodox way to start in the NFT world! Did you know anything about the crypto space before getting into NFTs, or was it completely cold turkey?
I knew about crypto prior to finding AtomicHub, but never had a proper crypto wallet before. I started out buying ETH and BTC on the Robinhood. WAX was the first cryptocurrency I ever owned in a wallet.
You’ve had quite the journey on WAX! Could you break down your time on the blockchain so far?
It’s been a wild ride to be honest! From not knowing what an NFT was, to selling out of a 15,000+ EleBlob pack drop, and now creating Immersys. I’ve met plenty of incredible people along the way, and I’m very thankful for that.
You’ve been working on Immersys for some time now – could you tell us what it’s all about?
Immersys is an immersive NFT metaverse – a 3D virtual world, available on Windows and Desktop VR. Our metaverse transforms the meaning of digital ownership. It’s one thing to own a NFT and have it sit in a wallet – it’s another to be able own it and use it in a digital multiplayer space.
We released the closed beta of Immersys.io on May 22nd of this year, and have been releasing weekly Saturday updates ever since.
We have over 50 NFT creators’ assets from the WAX ecosystem in Immersys currently, and many more on our waitlist to join. We provide utility to their NFTs by using them as verifiable assets to unlock content in our metaverse.
That utility comes in many forms; granting access to areas and features, wearables and equipment, materials for crafting, quests, virtual applications for our virtual interface, and game pieces for mini-games within the world. We are truly aiming to recreate Ready Player One for the WAX ecosystem.
In addition to our added utility for NFTs we also provide value through something we call Immersys Services.
These are services we provide within our metaverse. These services can range from mini-game development for the community, to advertising, shop renovations, and importing of NFT templates.
This allows collections to be created solely for the Immersys metaverse and its player base. A great example of this is that we’ve partnered with a project to create a virtual horse racecourse for them, where you’ll be able to race the NFT horses that they sell.
We also have a virtual marketplace being opened to the public on September 25th. You’ll be able to enter our market district and buy NFTs, physical items, sign up for subscription services, and purchase services directly from inside these shops. These shops are highly customize-able so each one is unique based on the owners’ needs.
Our Free Weekend also starts on September 25th, where anyone can download and play Immersys without needing a beta pass.
Participating in activities within Immersys will reward you with NFTs being minted directly to your WAX wallet – our play-to-earn mechanic. This means your WAX wallet will function as your inventory in-game.
We aim to have this, as well as a ton of other features, ready in time for our Open Weekend, so be sure to check it out if you can!
Woah, that’s an incredible level of development! It sounds like you’re effectively creating an NFT MMO from scratch – would that be a fair comparison?
Yes, but not entirely from scratch!
We’re very proud of our software. We’ve created Immersys using our game engine built within Unity, which has been in development for over 3 years. It was created to allow us to easily create VR experiences and games for enterprise use, but now, we’ve taken that same game engine and repurposed it to create Immersys.
This is what’s allowing us to develop at such a rapid rate. We can take a player-created asset and make it function within our world in just 5 minutes.
We expect creators to want us to develop games for their projects inside Immersys, and expect collections to be built solely to function inside our virtual world.
We’ve created the Immersys FATE Token to support that. This means someone can play our game, earn FATE, and then buy game development services from us using our token!
That’s brilliant! What further services/use cases do you envisage, or are in the works, for FATE?
The uses for our FATE Tokens are what we’re most excited about.
Players will earn FATE through gameplay. Alongside in-game items, there’s the Immersys Services previously mentioned available for purchase. On the development front, this includes 3D modelling and animation, video billboards and banner advertisements, 3D environment design, white-labelling of code and a lot more!
You will be able to purchase all of these services directly through our shop on the Immersys website.
Unlike your Eleblobs, I imagine you’re not working on Immersys alone! Do you have a dedicated dev team working on the project?
Haha, I am definitely not working alone on this. At times I feel like I’m working with everyone on WAX to be honest!
We do have a core team working on the project. Our CTO and main developer Imakestupidgames and I are the most community-facing, but we have a team of three 3D Artists, a UX/UI designer, and a backend developer.
We also have super-strong strategic partnerships with SixPM Software and the CAIT DeFi team, which I’m a team member of. It’s truly a collective effort behind Immersys. Everyone involved wants to help grow the WAX ecosystem, and we can do this through collaboration!
We invite anyone who thinks they can contribute to reach out. You can be part of this!
You’ve been able to make huge progress on Immersys in the three months since the closed beta launch. Do you have a plan in mind of where you’d like to be by the end of the year, and what features we might see by then?
Our big goal by the end of the year is to make Immersys look as close to a AAA-style game as possible.
We want to be the most immersive NFT metaverse out there, across all blockchains. This means advanced character creation, beautiful environments, storyline quests, strategic combat, and a world full of distractions and diversions.
We’d like to have every collection on WAX within Immersys, and to have further collections being made exclusively for Immersys.
Additional Immersys Services is a given, as well as further opportunities for mini-games that allow you to earn NFTs through gameplay.
I’d also love to hear our first story of someone playing Immersys full-time – for instance, as a lumberjack – and making a living through playing in our metaverse.
Lastly, we’d like to release more player-owned aspects, which we’ll accomplish through a public sale for our virtual marketplace shops, and then player-owned housing before the end of the year.
Those are bold ambitions! It sounds like you’re expecting Immersys to continue to ramp up quickly, as it has done in the last few months. Put yourself in the shoes of a player – what would a day in the life of a player look like by the end of this year?
We’ve been community and player focused from the beginning. I think it shows from our continued growth and player involvement in feedback, collaborations, and promotions of the project. They have our back and we have theirs!
We want to make sure that whether its your very first day or you’re a veteran, you can log into Immersys and have something to do.
We envision you wake up or come home from work. You log into Immersys and head to the Central Plaza to see which of your friends are online.
You meet up with them and go check out the drop shop to see what NFT drops and events are upcoming in the WAX community. You might decide to buy a drop and spawn the NFT from your inventory to show off, equip it to your avatar, or visit the area or activity it unlocks.
You can then go grind a bit to try and unlock a new craft in the profession you’ve decided. You chop some trees down as a lumberjack and get an epic blueprint of an axe, so you buy all the ingredients on AtomicHub needed to craft it.
You then want to do some PVP content, so you sell your axe and buy armour and a weapon to fight in the arena, where you could potentially unlock an epic weapon upgrade blueprint.
At the end of the day, you trade in some of the NFTs you’ve collected for FATE, because you’re saving to have the team create your dream game within Immersys using our Immersys Services.
Before you head off, you see that an event is going on, so you show up and watch a Marbles on Stream livestream from inside the metaverse.
Tomorrow, you’ll have a brand-new adventure waiting for you!
Have your development plans been influenced by any experiences in other blockchain titles? If so, have you learned anything in particular from your contemporaries?
To be honest, not really.
We’re aware of other metaverse projects, and I’ve hopped into Decentraland, The Sandbox, Uplift, and Somnium. It’s just difficult to compare and take reference because they’re all so vastly different.
Each big metaverse has its own strengths and weaknesses. I can tell you that our biggest strength is being on WAX. Free and fast transactions allow for the perfect NFT gaming experience whilst still getting all of the interactions recorded on the blockchain so we can verify the authenticity of assets.
I think we’re matching or even quickly out pacing some of these established metaverses simply because of WAX. It’s moving so quickly, and the community is developing tools to enable so many more functions – it’s insane!
You’re constantly seeing projects one-up each other with new competitive methods of handling problems that exist in the space. I think the perfect example is NeftyBlocks and AtomicHub. Watch our experience and tools rapidly improve over the next few months because of the competition and challenging of the norm!
Innovation exists on WAX because of how cheap it is to get started. This innovation means everyone in the ecosystem benefits. We can’t let up on the gas pedal. We think Immersys can play a massive part in the innovation!
Why should the wonderful person reading this take part in the Open Weekend? What can they expect to see?
Not everyone on WAX is a bot clicking a button. There are people behind the screens all day creating, collecting and interacting in the space, like the person reading this right now.
We encourage the reader to show up and be a part of our Open Weekend, starting 25th September. You’ll see what it’s like to be a part of a community that exists in the metaverse – a space where you can play-to-earn, play to have fun, play to make friends, play to experience, and play to create the future.
We want you see what a day in Immersys will be like. All of the core gameplay will be available, meaning you’ll be able to start earning on day one – both through gameplay and through giveaways.
We’re going to have over 50 vendor tents from our Immersys Creators set up, so you can learn about their projects directly from the creators.
Our virtual marketplace will also be opened up to explore. You can expect to meet and socialize with a bunch of community figures and see 100’s of NFTs spawned across the world!
We want you to leave the Immersys Open Weekend thinking about what you’d like to see created inside of it.
Are there any NFT artists or collections that you admire, WAX or otherwise?
I don’t like the idea of singling out just a few when, truly, it’s all of them. The time, the effort, the money, the community building, the constant innovation, the mental toll and support they provide each other is what I admire.
I can’t think of just one artist or collection that isn’t doing all of the above. I equate a lot of Immersys’ growth to these creators.
I want to thank every single creator who has joined Immersys so far, and everyone who is waiting patiently to get in. I’d also like to thank both SixPM Software and CAIT for everything they’ve done so far.
Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say directly to the reader?
I want to thank NFT Insider for an awesome interview!
Be sure to join us for our Open Weekend from the 25th to the 26th of September, and keep an eye our for our FATE token airdrop on the 28th!
We’ll also be doing another Beta Pass airdrop on October 1st!
Lots going on in the Metaverse. Be immersed!
It’s quick-fire time!
What fuels you?
I’m the oldest sibling in my family so I think self-improvement and seeing other people improve fuels me a lot. I like seeing and witnessing growth and success. People overcoming challenges and solving problems. It gets me really motivated and challenges me to continue to grow.
If you could give one piece of life advice, what would it be?
Live in the present.
Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed. Open them and just be aware of how still everything is. Acknowledge the sounds, feel the temperature, and when you’re at peace, go create. You just have to make a 50/50 decision at that point. Be who you want to be, or let the moment pass.
One unusual fact about you?
I think it’s becoming more common for people in the USA to follow English Premier League soccer, but I don’t think it’s common for them to follow a club like West Bromwich Albion. I’ve been a supporter for six years without ever having been to England!
You can invite three people, real or fictional, to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
Malcolm Gladwell, I idolize his books Blink and The Tipping Point.
Dave Matthews, and hope he brings his guitar.
Imakestupidgames, our lead developer and designer, because we deserve a meal in person one day – we’re from different countries!
What is your purpose in life?
I’m not sure, but I know my purpose right now – to create a metaverse and fill it with creativity, community and content that makes you immerse yourself.
Immersys is the one thing in my life so far that I wake up and love doing 100% of the time. I think it’s a sign that, in this moment, Immersys is my purpose.
How can we follow you and your work?
Join us in the Metaverse!
You can find out more about Immersys, and find the link to download the game, on our website.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been speaking to Dan on and off for several months, and know a great number of the collection with whom Immersys is currently partnered, and every single one of them has nothing but praise for Dan and the team.
His commitment and drive – coupled with his attitude of doing everything properly – makes for a killer combination, and Immersys has a very bright future ahead of it because of that. I’ll see you in the Open Weekend!
To celebrate this interview, we have our Immersys Interview Card, dropping next Wednesday at 22 UTC!
Max mint: 150 (1 reserved, 89 public, 30 OGs, 30 Promo Holders)
Drop price: Free!
Dropping 29/09 22:00 UTC!