Terra Virtua Development Update — From the CTO
Hi everyone! Time to touch base again — there’s been a long gap since our last update, and we have achieved so much in that time, including the holy grail of full interoperability of our NFTs with the outside world!
Our roadmap is now very different, but in a good way, and in many ways we are going back to our roots.We have always had a vision of what we want to build, and this article is far more expansive than discussed in previous roadmaps.
Terra Virtua initially came from a place built on four things.
These are: Blockchain, NFTs (or digital collectibles), the Metaverse and VR, and we built out a substantial chunk in 2018–20. And yes, we showed “Ready Player One” at our launch event at BAFTA, 2 weeks before the movie release where Gary introduced it as a “2 hour introduction to what we are building”.
We started building out the virtual reality Metaverse back in 2018, along with multiple games which were compatible with all of the assets within them as NFTs and everything worked beautifully within VR. And after we had built version one, we looked at the market and thought, ‘this is too soon’. No one understood what an NFT was and VR was nowhere near mainstream adoption. As for the ‘Metaverse’ no one even really coined the phrase — and no one really cared.
So we looked at the long term play and medium term objectives and decided to scale back our ambitions and focus on the marketplace. We wanted to bring digital collectibles to the mainstream, BUT build it with the ability to take those ‘NFTs’ — into more of an immersive world which is the ultimate direction for Terra Virtua. The Fancave, Terradome and Art Galleries were unplugged from the metaverse and made standalone as a way to introduce everyone to immersive spaces. We built them ALL to work in VR, but kept that under our hats. Being able to pick up and interact with your NFT with your hands adds a completely new dimension to your collectible. You need to see how cool it is turning a Top Gun helmet around in your hands in VR!
Our vision always was to have amazing NFTs as immersive digital collectibles, with wonderful use cases, designed from the beginning to operate within a much wider universe. This included interaction with real world events, virtual spaces (which we believe will be the new social networks), the ability to interact with games, the ability to do incredible things in a persistent online universe where ownership was the key. This was Terra Virtua v1; Marketplace, AR app, Fancave, Terradome 3D spaces
The platform was all about bringing in great NFTs, working with great IPs and showing how NFTs could be truly different from just an image or a video. That’s why we started with animated 3D models (the first in this space!), to show how we thought NFTs could be represented in a much more immersive and interesting way. We used this and our spaces to show brands what could be done to engage their fans, and also to allow people to have a much richer experience in digital — so the conversation would move away from ‘isn’t an NFT just a JPEG?’. We are very proud of the amazing assets we created for some great IPs including Lost in Space, the Godfather and more, when at the time there was nothing in the entire space from ‘mainstream brands’.
We launched all of these while looking at future use cases, uses of our token — with an eye to expanding our ecosystem to be wider than an immersive sales front — and why stop there? NFTs by their very nature can have more utility than just being collected for the sake of collecting. What if you could get amazing merch from your favourite brand — then could do more with it? Buy a car NFT from your favourite racing team, and then race it?
Terra Virtua Marketplace v2
We spent the year tweaking, changing and adding features as well as developing IP assets. Major changes this year included making the system fully open, supporting Polygon to address our scaling and environmental concerns, adding radically enhanced search and stacking as well as supporting art with 3D galleries. We also launched the first version of Prestige — which we will be building upon over the coming year. We also have signed up (and in the process of signing up) some incredible brands which will allow us to showcase best of breed NFTs in the coming months. IPs where the marketplace, apps and fancaves can really shine.
All the user feedback has contributed to this, making our marketplace much much better.
Next steps, Terra Virtua Marketplace v3 and beyond
We have over 120 designers, engineers, 3D modellers, artists, developers, but the realisation hit us 6 months ago that we could not scale or grow to our ambitions with everything being in-house. We had to let go and find some great partners to work with. Our 3D spaces evolved, but were reworked for pitch after pitch, without giving us time to rework the underpinnings, and the team was working on legacy support and iteration of our core marketplace to v2, which is live today. The correct priorities for sure — but there are other things we wanted to do (I’ll get into that in a minute). So, we have now partnered with some great software companies we have worked with in our past lives, and spent many months working up and designing Terra Virtua Marketplace v3. This is the pinnacle of what we believe a marketplace should be. Built up from the ground up, with multiple chain support and lots of amazing new features — ready for the P2E era and allowing new P2E games to have their marketplace with some incredible innovations (will cover this in a future article).
This has freed us up to focus on our new innovations, namely a world class app in Android AND IOS, flexible fancaves — and the Terraverse Ecosystem. This means a metaverse of customisable spaces, environments — where you can take your NFTs for a spin and do amazing things with them. We have signed multiple partnerships, are actively working on our first white label partnerships and providing marketplaces for new creators using our technology.
It puts us in a very strong situation in that we have an incredible new version of a marketplace design, which is a) completely scalable, b) taken all the learnings we’ve had over the last year, c) allows true white labels to be deployed — instantly — and d) supports multiple blockchains. Now rather than be mired with constantly maintaining and iterating an existing platform, we’ve designed the true successor to our existing platform and it’s well underway, and has been for many months. When this is released early next year we are sure no-one in the space will have seen anything like it. Here are a few peeks 😉
Now it doesn’t mean the existing marketplace is static, we have some outstanding things to do including adding 3 more blockchains in the immediate future. Each one of these chains will be coupled with some very interesting IP and use cases. I won’t steal any of marketing’s thunder here though… make sure to follow us on social media.
The core team will however be moving onto our next main priorities, namely the mobile applications and the Metaverse — and some amazing tools and technologies supporting multiple new creatives in our burgeoning space.
So, we will have FIVE main strands over the coming year that we build towards, and rather than giving a month by month estimate I will give you a flavour of what we are building towards.
The Terra Virtua Marketplace v3
This is our next generation marketplace, with collections, packs, dashboards, a social layer — a whole gamut of insane features. To top it off, we will have multiple auction types, open editions and multiple types of secondary sales along with powerful selling tools. All updates are based on user feedback. Having been in production now for 4 months, this will be launched in 3 phases starting from Q1 2022. Its an utter and complete optimised rebuild in anticipation of the parabolic growth which has to be just around the corner 😊.
Terra Virtua White Labels based on v3
Powered by Terra Virtua — the ability to have our tech working for new creators and brands with full interoperability with our Metaverse and with custom spaces. With TVK powering and enhancing gameplay in P2E games, and integrating some of the wider partnerships we have announced in the past.
The Terra Virtua Mobile App
We know mobile apps. Between the Terra Virtua team’s collective experience of building in mobile, we have over 30 million downloads of mobile games. Now we have the time and Apple is a little more flexible, we are going to bring some amazing experiences to you in a few months time. The real challenge here is that the new marketplace is completely different structurally which means an app based on our existing platform will need to be completely reintegrated into a brand new marketplace just a few months after its release. So we will likely make a slightly lighter version as the app v2 and release an app v3 which works with the new marketplace which we are aiming to launch in Q1 2022. But the focus is time based, location based and event based NFTs to support brand events.
Terra Virtua Prestige
We launched the core club for TVK holders, along with a clunky mechanism for redemption. We are enhancing this and looking at additional value adds, including site wide discounts, and secondary Prestige member programs based around ownership of NFTs. Our Prestige-only Discord and feedback channel is now open. If our users have a ton of Terra Virtua NFTs, there needs to be a reward for them too!
The Terra Virtua Metaverse — (or the Terraverse 😊 )
The spaces we have live now (Fan Cave, Terradome and Art Gallery) were unplugged from our metaverse, so the first focus is to make the spaces themselves utterly configurable and multiuser. Then the second part is to build out and enhance our design to allow all these spaces to be plugged into your own lobby area — so you ‘arrive’ in the Terraverse. You should be able to display and enhance your own spaces any way you want, and they need to be available not just on desktop but on web, VR and AR too. A very tall order, and we are deep into building the blocks of technology to allow you to start showcasing the collectables you love the most in the way you want.
The metaverse will have additional features which are only — available to TVK holders. More building options, more types of structures — and the ability to mint your spaces as NFTs.
The relationships we are building with brands and new IPs are completely focussed on making their assets completely interoperable with our metaverse and our upcoming marketplaces.
Lots more to discuss but I think this whole discussion merits its own article in the future.
We have updated our roadmap to reflect where we are heading with our new vision — here it is!
And for all the people out there who never saw our original metaverse — here’s a little reminder of what we built previously
We are working through how to create much more utility out of the VFLECTs - they are amazing and we are aiming to make it much more rewarding and interesting for holders of these little guys.
And now for the recap of what we have done specifically since the last developer update:
1: The Marketplace
i) Collections Module
Ownership in the Terra Virtua ecosystem is more than just buying random NFTs and selling them for profit later on. Terra Virtua Collections are the first part of our gamification model, with a lot more to follow.
Terra Virtua Collections not only combine your NFTs into certain sequences, but also allows users to earn Reward NFTs, which are not available for sale on the marketplace. These reward NFTs can only be earned by completing their respective collections.
There are currently two types of collections available on the marketplace.
- Time Bound Collections: Where users have to complete a collection inside a timeframe in order to claim/earn rewards.
- Reward Based Collections: Where users can only claim a fixed number of rewards, on a first come, first served basis.
If you have a Generation 1 collectible that is now part of a Collection, you can collect the outstanding NFTs in Generation 2 and still earn the reward. (More on Gen 2 below).
ii) Dynamic Search
Here at Terra Virtua, we’re determined to make marketplace experience better and smoother for all of our existing and new users. Though we’ve had a very dynamic Filter System in place (which helped shape a lot of user experience industry wide), we still had a lot of users asking about a more intuitive search system, to help them find their desired brands, art pieces and certain assets quickly.
We have added a Dynamic Search Module, which allows users to see marketplace assets, as they type in a stacked manner. The search system currently works on any keyword from Titles and Descriptions of the assets, and we’re hard at work to expand it to MetaData and System integers, to help direct the results even more efficiently.
The Marketplace now has a Stacking feature. Stacking is a way to display inventory copies of an item into one card. It allows users to see the wide variety of assets which we have, without scrolling through pages and pages of similar items.
When you click on one of the stacked cards, you’re taken to the detailed Sold/Unsold/Auction views of their NFT copies, but on the Marketplace Landing/Filter pages, and Search Results, you’re now looking at stacked cards, allowing users a better navigation experience.
iv) Generation Cards
Terra Virtua Generation 2 Collectibles are now live on the marketplace. These 2nd edition recreations of your favorite collectibles not only gives more users a chance to own similar items from Gen 1 (with of course different prices and mint counts), but also powers up the Collection module.
The items from both generations are currently differentiated by a Generation Tag, and in very near future, Gen 1 items are getting a Golden emboss on the cards, to mark them being the rarest of them all!
2: ETH Payment for Secondary Sales
Since launch, our marketplace has only allowed FIAT payments for secondary sales. It meant that even if you’re a crypto user, you had to buy any secondary sale item (Auction/Offer) via FIAT. We’re thrilled to announce that ETH payments are now live for all of our Secondary Sales Marketplace. You can simply Bid/Pay for an auction or send a direct offer and pay (on acceptance) with ETH, via your MetaMask.
3: Polygon Integration
Ethereum costs are affecting consumers globally, it’s affecting us as a business as well (as Terra Virtua pays Gas fees for all FIAT transactions, and only charges a fixed percentage to the buyers). This, combined with our plans for environmental sustainability led to the decision of moving the next batch of Terra Virtua inventory from main Ethereum to Polygon.
Polygon not only allows for decreased minting and transfer costs for our customers, but allows larger quantities for the mass market, which has always been our goal. Being an Ethereum side chain, it also allows users to keep the same Ethereum address on both chains. It also works seamlessly with MetaMask, and after OpenSea’s move to allow Polygon on their open marketplace, it gives our users a lot of convenience to trade their open assets freely. You do however require Matic tokens to pay gas fees, but compared to Ethereum, they’re literally fractional.
4: Blockchain Restructuring
(As you already know about the Openness, quoting here from our previous Dev update for clear referencing.)
i) Phase:2 — Event Based System — Existing Open
“Adding an additional Logic Layer for Open Transfers. The purpose is to add a FLAG for any/every kind of payment/transfer request or validation for any internal or external user at runtime.
This also includes maintenance of internal providence records of all sorts of transfers (internally or externally). The major part of this phase is dependent on relaying our Database an accurate and runtime record of all Pending Transactions (Buy/Sell/Exchange/Transfer/Auction) to/from/for our existing payment and NFT contracts, from both internal and external marketplaces, (and for all FIAT and ETH users simultaneously).” — CASE
We’re proud to announce that Openness (or Interoperability as we call it) is now live on the Terra Virtua ecosystem, for both Ethereum and Polygon assets.
ii) Ethereum Interoperability
In order to achieve that, a new Terra Virtua Wrapper Smart Contract has been implemented. When you choose to set an NFT Open (via Export Function), the system freezes your current NFT on our Admin Contract, creates a copy of it via Wrapper Contract on your Ethereum address with the same MetaData and Token ID information. The item is now available for any standard NFT operation.
Once you, or the next owner decides to bring it back to Terra Virtua ecosystem, by setting it CLOSE (via Import function), the system burns the Wrapper Contract copy of the item, and releases the Frozen Original asset to the owner’s Terra Virtua Inventory.
iii) Polygon Interoperability
Polygon, being an Ethereum side chain, follows the same set of standards for both Smart Contracts and Assets. Once Ethereum interoperability was achieved, it was not hard to do the same for Polygon. It, of course, involved it’s own challenges of syncing our system database with all sorts of transactional records over both blockchains, but our we have figured out how to relay this information to our blockchain event watching component (we proudly call it Blockchain EYE).
In simple words, you can now set any on your Ethereum NFT OPEN, and do direct transfer or trade on open marketplaces (OpenSea, Rarible) like any regular NFT.
Well, that’s it for this dev update. Lots of exciting news to digest. We’ll be providing updates quarterly but any questions — feel free to DM me or if you are a Prestige member, let’s chat about things at the first town hall!
Jawad — Terra Virtua CTO