Upland 2021: An Agile Roadmap to a Thriving Metaverse
If you’ve been hanging around the Upland metaverse for a while, by now you know that we are constantly working on new and innovative features, as well as adapting our roadmap to support the best path toward mass adoption, and a robust NFT economy. In 2020 we released a comprehensive roadmap that allowed our community to rally around the vision of a new type of game. Part game, part metaverse, part digital community, and yet still more than the sum of its parts. You can read more about our 2020 accomplishments at the bottom of this post.
2020 was a fantastic year for Upland, as it became one of the top blockchain games in the world. We also introduced numerous core features that will lay the foundation for a truly powerful metaverse economy. This year, those features will really come to life, with property development, businesses, NFT integrations, gamification, and much more. This is the year that Upland becomes a thriving metaverse for all!
Updated Roadmap Format
Beginning with the 2021 roadmap, we are adopting a more agile approach to roadmap management. Instead of releasing a roadmap once a year, we will have a living roadmap that will be updated quarterly and includes the following sections:
- Detailed development and release objectives for the coming Quarter
- A list of major features reflecting our current priority for the following 3 Quarters
- A list of features reflecting our backlog beyond the coming year
As this new format is a living document, features may be updated in priorities from quarter to quarter, reflecting the actual progress of the metaverse and new and existing opportunities (such as brand integration and partnerships).
Starting in 2021, the Upland team will adopt a new policy to support community feedback. In every sprint, a minimum of 15% of our development resources will be allocated to address accepted feedback and suggestions for improvements from the community. We will be taking feature recommendations through various means, including observing conversations and debates around features, as well as the more direct suggestions we receive through the #feedback channel of our Discord. We will also be sending out a survey soon, to help concretize and organize the feedback we’ve been receiving.
The Living Roadmap
Q1 Release Objectives
We have high confidence that the following features will be released in Q1 of 2021.
The Spark Token
We’ve announced the Spark token in late 2020, and in Q1 of 2021 the smart contracts will be deployed on the EOS Blockchain, and the first pools of Spark tokens will be minted, including the citizen airdrop. Spark will power property development and more.
With the introduction of the Spark token, permanent property development will kick off, featuring upgraded building models and various improvements.
The Structure NFT
Builders will enjoy true ownership as their structures will be implemented as NFTs on the blockchain (tethered directly to the property NFT it is constructed on).
Object Positioning on Properties
Unlike the property development sandbox, where structures were automatically positioned in the center of the property, permanent property development will allow flexible positioning of structures within the property (prior to the start of construction).
In-App NFT Management
The Upland app will provide players with an easy way to access, view, and manage the NFTs they own.
Block Explorer NFT
Players will enjoy true ownership of their Custom Block Explorers, as they become NFTs. Custom Block Explorers will also include information about the explorer including number of mints, any associated explorers in the series and its ‘Block Story’, detailing what makes that explorer special.
The UPLOAD Token
UPLOAD is a new non-fungible token that is used to represent NFTs that have been uploaded from other platforms and blockchains into Upland via the NFT Portal. The UPLOAD token will exist as long as the origin NFT is kept in Upland’s custody. At any point in time, the owner of the UPLOAD token has the ability to pull the source NFT from custody and back to the platform of origin.
NFT Portal Beta — Upland Meets Blockchain Heroes
Upland’s partnership with Blockchain Heroes (Atomic Asset based collectible cards on the Wax blockchain) will serve as the first beta implementation of the upcoming NFT portal that would allow players to import external NFTs into the Upland metaverse. Uploaded NFTs can later on be used inside of Upland homes as decorations, and eventually traded between players through NFT gallery businesses.
Q1 Development Initiatives
The development of these features will start in Q1 but they are most likely to be implemented in Q2 of 2021.
Block Explorer Shops
Block Explorer shops serve both as marketplaces for trading existing custom Block Explorers, and the exclusive places where newly minted custom Block Explorers are made available to Uplanders. Owners enjoy income in the form of transaction fees.
Multiple Items on Property
Multiple structures and portable items will be allowed to be placed and managed within a single property, provided that they can fit within the property boundaries.
Staking Spark for Other Uplanders’ Projects
Players will be able to stake their Spark resources in favor of other player’s construction projects.
Landmark owners in SF will be able to start the construction using the replica models (resembling real world landmarks). Once construction is complete, each landmark will be represented with a high-zoom-level pin.
The Spark Exchange
Players will be able to put their unused Spark tokens into the automated Spark exchange, enabling them to earn UPX from players who wish to rent additional Spark for their construction projects.
Engagement Spark Rewards
After the release of the Spark token, a certain amount of Spark (derived from the Upland Spark Pool) will be utilized for rewarding players for engagement and progression in the game.
Portable Map Items NFT
Players will be able to get creative and trick out their properties with cool and unique inanimate objects that are produced and sold in decor shops.
Outdoor Decor Shops
Owners of Outdoor Decor Shops are responsible for creating blueprints for inanimate portable objects that can be placed on properties. Owners will work together with the Upland team to approve objects, manufacture inventories using staked Spark, and sell their products to other Uplanders.
Unlike trains and aircraft (as of now), cars will be truly owned by players and implemented as 3D objects that exist in the Upland metaverse, similar to structures. In later stages, cars will also have utility as a means of transportation between cities, and for racing. You can expect some intriguing mechanics and innovative features for cars in the metaverse, such as odometer tracking, parking requirements when idle, gas requirements and more.
Near-Term Prioritized Features
These are features we plan to work on over the next 4 quarters, but their priority will be determined as we progress with implementing the aforementioned features.
Property to USD — Open Beta
The property to USD closed alpha was launched in 2020. In 2021, Upland will proceed with the Closed Beta and then later on the Open Beta, allowing all Uplanders to add USD to their property trading options. At later stages in 2021, more functionality will be added and USD trading will also be extended to other types of NFTs, turning Upland’s ‘Property to USD’ program into ‘NFT to USD’.
Business License NFT
Business-specific licenses will be tradable NFTs. They will have varying and limited availability in each locale in Upland. Business licenses will also be available for leasing to other Uplanders.
Artists will be able to create NFT art inside of Upland, to be displayed in Upland homes and later on traded in Upland-run galleries.
Further NFT Portal Integrations
After the NFT Portal beta with the Upland-Blockchain Heroes collaboration (Atomic Assets), more NFT standards will be integrated to be able to upload to Upland, including ERC-721 (Ethereum) integrations.
These types of businesses allow owners to curate and trade NFTs that were uploaded via the NFT Portal. The launch of NFT Galleries will be subject to regulatory clearance
Cafés are going to offer means for players to connect inside Upland in small and manageable groups with a live chat room in the center of the experience. Owners of the cafe will be able to moderate and appoint other moderators, manage rules for allowing participation and offer virtual gift-items to be purchased and exchanged among patrons.
With the introduction of the Car NFT, Car dealerships will be the destination for Uplanders to get new cars or trade their used ones.
Uplanders will be able to customize the inside-experiences of their primary residence and display their NFTs for other Uplanders to admire.
Primary Residence in Upland
Uplanders will be able to designate a structure as their primary place of residence, enabling their home experience and further contributing to their neighborhood’s development rating.
Neighborhood Ratings and Collection Spawn
Each neighborhood in the city will have a development rating: a score given to a neighborhood that is based on a combination of the number of developed properties and their quality (elements that affect the quality of development include size, residents associated, supplemental items, number of businesses, and so on). Once a neighborhood has reached a certain development rating, it will automatically spawn a collection for that neighborhood (if one does not yet exist) and further advancement in the development rating will lead to an increase in the collection boost.
Travel By Car
Cars will be made available to use as means of transportation between cities in Upland (and also within cites, once true movement speed is implemented)
Using your own car as a means of transportation in Upland is great, but what good is a car if you can’t race it? 2021 will see the genesis of car racing in Upland, where races are calculated and projected on top of the Upland map according to different elements such as the driver and their competitors’ skills, the cars they are racing, the attributes of the racing track and special available add-ons.
With the recent success of the Sandbox Wars generating interest, engagement and excitement in the metaverse, a new Battle Royal mechanic will offer players the opportunity to team up and launch competitions on demand.
Contingent with Upland’s economic development, 2021 may see new US-based, as well as international city expansions. Existing cities may be further developed with new types of peripheral expansions to support the growing communities.
In-App User Interaction, Communication and Activity Feed
A significant part of today’s interaction between Uplanders happens outside of Upland, primarily on official and fan-based social channels. Upland will start integrating features that would allow more and more of these types of interactions to take place in Upland through newly added features and improvements on existing ones, including the ability to follow other Uplanders via a personalized activity feed.
Leasing Upland Utility NFTs and Paying Uplanders for Services
A new type value proposition for utility NFT owners in Upland, such as a place for residence, a car or a business license will be the ability to lease these NFTs for the use of other Uplanders. This win-win mechanic will provide an avenue for another source of income for owners, as well as more options for players to participate in the metaverse even if they don’t have the necessary resources to own these assets. Moreover, as more elaborate building-block mechanics take form in the metaverse, new opportunities will emerge for Uplanders to pay other Uplanders for performing various services.
True Movement Speed
As of today, Block Explorers move between properties via send action at a constant duration regardless of the travel distance (in other words, the speed of travel for the Block Explorers varies according to the distance). When True Movement Speed is implemented, the timing of the sequence of sending your Block Explorer (BE) will depend on the physical distance between your BE and the destination.
Blockchain Infrastructure Improvements
It may not be always visible to the community (and neither should it be) but a significant amount of our development efforts go towards harnessing the power of blockchain in favor of all Uplanders in a way that is seamless to the player. As we prepare to go out of beta and offer Upland to mass audiences, the user experience with blockchain elements needs to be perfected. A good example of this is applying our handling of ‘microfork’ conditions (which is already applied for new contracts) for the legacy property minting action which we expect to deliver in the near term.
Partnerships and Brands
The Upland team is actively working to get well-recognized partners and brands (from outside the blockchain or crypto-related market) to participate in the metaverse. 2021 may see the first fruits of these efforts.
Pro Tools (Dashboards and Statistics, Property Management Tools)
Upland will provide statistics and trends about properties within the game and reports for transactions made by the player as well as information about market transaction history. This will give players easy access to important information about the market and their individual activity.
Airline Terminal Fee Simulation
Airplane NFTs and Airlines are one of the most fun and exciting businesses that will be introduced in the Upland metaverse in the future (but not in 2021) and provide airport terminal owners operational revenue. Until that point, those operational fees will start being simulated and distributed to terminal owners as a percentage taken from airfare, which is currently transferred in full to the community UPX pool.
Mid-Term Prioritized Features
These are features that will become near-term priorities when resources allow.
Arcades will be the first test case in Upland for 3rd party developer integration, allowing web-based game developers to integrate their games with the owners’ business. As the necessary preparations for 3rd party development may start in 2021, we predict that arcades as businesses will be fully released later on.
Realty agencies will offer Uplanders advertising services such as advanced listings for property sales and residential properties for rent. Realty agencies will also offer advanced trading options such as creating property bundles for sale in a single transaction and selling complete collections.
Upland Merchandise Stores
Owners of Upland merchandise stores will be able to maintain an inventory and sell Upland merchandise to other players. Legit Upland merchandise will not be available for purchase anywhere else but inside of Upland, and the physical merchandise will be delivered in the real world. Some of the merchandise will be made available in limited runs and tokenized, offering the customer the option to stow the physical merchandise in Upland escrow while still being able to trade the token of ownership.
Content producers and live streamers will be able to sell tickets (in NFT form) to Upland-based consumers
Upland will allow players to team up, jointly own a property, share earnings, and trade their share in it. This feature will also support other features such as Squads or Monuments.
Get ready to team up! Squads will be formed by teams of 4 Uplanders that can utilize each other’s properties as if they were their own! Squads will also make joint property purchases easier and will have a special leaderboard section.
3RD Party NFT Custodian
For ultra-high-value NFTs that are uploaded to Upland, a licensed 3rd party NFT custodian will be utilized. Until this feature is made available, the value of NFTs allowed to be uploaded to Upland may be limited.
Upland will offer two new layers of advanced security: the first one would turn the password recovery process to be based on predetermined security questions known only to the player. The second layer will allow generating your own private keys for your Upland account and managing them in a wallet such as Scatter.
Uplanders will be able to activate a voluntary contract that will pass all their assets to another Uplander named by them in the event that they have not logged in to the game over a predefined period of time.
Resource Token for Life
Similar to Spark being staked for the construction/production of inanimate objects, A new resource token will be introduced for the creation of living things (e.g. plants, trees and animals).
Mining and Farming in Upland
In the future, instead of Spark being directly minted into one of the Spark pools, it will be deposited in wastelands (empty areas) around the world and left for Uplanders to discover and mine. Similar to that, the resource token for life will be extractable through farming operations.
Accomplishments From the 2020 Roadmap
When we set out the Upland 2020 roadmap, we knew that it was an incredibly ambitious plan. We included predictions on what we would likely get done, and a number of features that we want to work on further down the road. From that roadmap, we delivered on many key features, as well as items we identified along the road to be crucial, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Trade for fiat. 100 players have been invited to sell their properties for USD. There have been several properties sold for $500+
- Set asking price for visits. Players now have more control over their visit fees.
- Buy UPX with cryptocurrencies. Players can now purchase UPX with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more!
- New cities. We began to introduce NYC with Manhattan and also released Fresno.
- Travel between cities. Players can take a plane from SF to NYC and also take a train from SF to Fresno.
- Collections reveal. We created a new mechanic for minting and releasing collections to ensure fairness.
- Referral bonuses. Players are able to earn UPX bonuses by inviting other players to join Upland.
- Treasure Hunts. Players can compete in various treasure hunts across the map, to earn UPX.
- Collecting ‘Sends’. Players can collect sends (paper planes) on the map, to enable more inner-city travel.
- New Statuses. We introduced the Pro, Director and Executive statuses, as well as the perks that come with them.
- Leaderboards. You can now see which players are leading Upland in several core achievements, broken down by time frame.
- Live events. We are now regularly putting on increasingly engaging and dynamic live events inside Upland.
- Toggle real-world data. Players can see a google maps street view of their properties.
- Desktop. You can play Upland on any desktop in the browser.
- 2-Factor Authentication. Upland accounts are now more secure with this feature.
- Landmarks. We introduced special properties that will retain the iconic look of their real world counterparts, when fully constructed.
- Land Development (Sandbox). Players were able to test the property development feature through fun and creative competitions with transient property construction.
- UI Revamp. We have improved Upland’s interface to create more consistency and easier access to core features.
- Challenges. We regularly add various in-app challenges for players to compete in and earn rewards.
- Scavenger Hunts. In this event type, players solve clues across the map in a race for top prize.
- Achievement Badges. Badges, representing achievements, are shown on block explorers as well as player profiles.
- Asset removal. Uplanders are able to ‘burn’ owned UPX and owned properties, which enables resolutions for ToS violations.
- Alcatraz. To help enforce Upland’s TOS, we send misbehaving players to Alcatraz as a punishment.
- Fair Start Act. A set of features and policies that make getting started in Upland easier for new players.