Walking a Waxel World: An Interview with Ryu, Founder of Waxel Ninjas
We sit down with the mastermind behind these generative pixel ninjas to discuss metaverses, mining and… Gordon Ramsay?!
If NFTs in 2021 could be simplified into two major trends, they would be blockchain games, and generative collections.
The latter has been a staple of ETH NFTs for some time now, and the trend has been noticeably hopping across to WAX in recent months as more and more collectors crave a unique 1-of-1 NFT to call their own.
It’s rare to find a project that dares to mix these two trends, but the potential of such a killer mix is undeniable. One project on WAX has set out to push this combination to its boundaries – Waxel Ninjas.
With 10,000 of their generative ninjas now traversing across the WAX blockchain, and with their Waxel World metaverse on the way, now was the perfect time to find out more about their future plans!
Read to the end of the interview for our Waxel Ninjas Interview Card, dropping next week!
There’s currently an issue with claim links, so no NFTs to hunt for this week. Apologies!
Hydro: Hey! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
Ryu: Hi! My real name is Daniel, but pretty much everyone on the internet knows me by my nickname Ryu. I’m 33 years old, married, living in Germany with two cats. I’m a trained Quality Assurance Engineer, with over 10 years of experience in the web development sector.
Since I was a kid, I’ve been heavily into video games. It all started with a Sega Master System 2 that I got for Christmas when I was 6 years old, and since then, I’ve rarely missed a console. NES, SNES, N64 etc., I’ve played them all up until today, where I mostly game on the computer or Nintendo Switch.
At the end of 2017, I got into the crypto space and invested into several projects. One of these was Enjin. They promised to develop every gamer’s dream – to have ownership of the digital assets you buy or earn while playing video games, and the ability to transfer them between games. I was blown away, and I’ve been patiently waiting for this to be a reality ever since.
NFTs were pretty underground until late 2020, and that’s when I start to research games I could invest into and would enjoy playing.
However, investing and playing wasn’t enough. In May 2021, a friend of mine and I had the idea to develop our own NFT game. Having been familiar with WAX for a while, we named it Waxel – a portmanteau of WAX and pixel.
Soon after, his wife joined us to make it a team of three. Working on our own NFT project, connecting with all of the awesome personalities in the space and creating your own lovely community has been so much fun that I decided to quit my 9 to 5 job this August to work 100% on Waxel.
Waxel Ninjas is a generative collection with a difference – could you tell us all about it?
For sure! The difference is that we’re one of the first generative collectibles that includes a variation of animation, depending on the rarity of the NFT.
We have 10,000 unique, individual Waxel Ninjas, with 10 different attributes and 5 different rarities. Rather than just a colour, frame or background variation like other projects, the rarer your Waxel Ninja, the more complex its animation will be.
Every Waxel Ninja will be integrated into our upcoming Waxel World, and will function similar to Land Plots in other blockchain gaming titles.
Alongside this, we’re also working on as many collaborations and integrations as possible, in order to bring even more utility to our Ninjas. We’d like to see them in all four corners of the space!
How did you get started in pixel art?
Like most of us, I only had standard art lessons in school, and I was never any good. From time to time, I played around with a few websites, but that was it.
However, I’ve always loved pixel art, so when the idea for an NFT collection came to mind, I thought; “Why not give it a try and see how far you can go?”
At least on the surface, pixel art seemed easier than other styles, so our team set to work on learning pixel art, and here we are now!
Did any of those games from your childhood influence the art style of Waxel Ninjas?
I can’t really say that it was one specific game that inspired me, more lots and lots of them. A particularly enjoy more modern games in a pixel art style, and I’m always on the hunt for the newest ones.
What are your favourite NFT projects so far?
In no particular order; The Metakey – for it’s awesome team, community and endless utility, Skullx – for their fantastic art, The Sandbox – as they have the potential to be the biggest game in the space, Animetas – the art speaks for itself, and CyberKongz – as they changed the PFP game.
How long does it take to create one of your animated Waxel Ninjas?
As I’m a rookie and only started pixel art this year, it takes me about a day to make a full, animated NFT. I’m learning as I go!
What implementations do you have planned for your ninjas?
The biggest thing we’re working on is the Waxel World.
As mentioned, every generative Waxel Ninja will function similar to a Land Plot within the Waxel World.
What does this mean? Players will be able to use their Waxel Ninjas to search for new Citizens every couple of hours, A fixed amount of Citizens can be blended together to create Citizens with Professions, which are able to gather resources within the world. These resources can then be used to craft a variety of items.
The goal is to create a living, breathing ecosystem.
Using the collectibles effectively as land tokens is a novel idea! On the item front, what will these items be able to do?
As an example, one of the Citizen Professions will be a Miner, who will be able to generate ores such as bronze, silver and gold. They’ll be able to equip a Pickaxe item, allowing them to produce ores faster.
Items will break after a certain amount of uses, which we hope will help to balance the economy. It will take quite a while to find a good balance here, but we will listen to our community and adjust the Waxel World accordingly to be as fun and fair as possible!
How important do you think staking and other utilities are to the success of an NFT project?
Besides a strong community and a solid team, utility is the most important part for any NFT project that isn’t solely art-focused.
NFTs give us pretty much unlimited possibilities in terms of utility, and only our imagination is the limit. Look at it from a collector’s perspective; if they like the art of two projects, but one gives him way more utility, which one would he rather invest into?
The more utility you add to your NFTs, the more people will be willing to invest in your project. This could be staking aspects, or other types of earning potential.
What is your favourite NFT in the Waxel Ninjas collection so far?
Hard question as I love all the NFTs we are creating, but I would say one of the Waxel Ninja avatars, as they were the very first NFTs we released – this one specifically. The colours just work so well together!
If I could name another one, it would be our latest collaboration with Oliver Hassell, as I spent about 40 hours on it.
Where would you like Waxel Ninjas to be by the end of the year?
We’d love to have the Waxel World released by the end of the year, bringing utility to our collections and giving our collectors a great place to hang out!
Fab! Anything you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say directly to the reader?
If you read this, keep in mind that you are still early with NFTs and are participating in the sort of opportunity that only comes around once or twice in your life.
Currently, the NFT space is like the 90s internet. There’s so much opportunity to be had, so take part in it however you can!
Search for like-minded people, invest and create whatever you can in this space. You’ve all got the chance to become financially independent whilst having fun building and participating in so many awesome communities.
What fuels you?
Watching people learning and accomplishing their goals, no matter how big or small they are.
One unusual fact about you?
I had a pretty long, dyed red mohawk during my final two years of school – my mum was not very amused!
If you could give one piece of life advice, what would it be?
You should treat others the same way you would want to be treated yourself.
You can invite three people, real or fictional, to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
Gordon Ramsay – as he is one of the best cooks in the world and I like to cook and bake myself, Bill Gates – as I see him as one of the most knowledgeable people on earth, and Bill Burr – as his humour matches mine perfectly, and as he has an opinion on everything, I’m sure we’d have some very interesting conversations!
What is your purpose in life?
Life is short, and therefore the purpose is to enjoy the time I have with my family and friends. As memories are one of the most precious things we can have in life, I try to collect as many as I can. This could be travelling around the world, a concert or even just awesome food.
How can we follow you and your work?
Ryu’s quest to give his ninjas meaningful utility, both through the Waxel World and through external partnerships, is an honourable one, and will place his Ninjas in a strong position for the future if guided well.
The Waxel Ninjas are a prime example of where ample blockchain gaming experience can build the foundations of a successful collection. As these games continues to pick up speed, I can’t wait to see the innovations that are just around the corner!
To celebrate this interview, we have our Waxel Ninjas Interview Card, dropping next week!