Denise Kelley on Facebook told me about Occupy White Walls (OWW for short), and so I decided to pay a visit. This app, created by a company called Stiki Pixels, is best described via this blurb from its high irreverent website:
To say it’s a PC sandbox-building, AI-driven MMO where people play with Art, developed by people who really love architecture and abstract characters… would be a bit of a mouthful.
We could have named it ‘World of curation craft’, or ‘Clash of artistically and architecturally curious people’ but we chose Occupy White Walls. OWW for short.
Pronounced as Owouawwouaw.
They describe this virtual world as “Fair-to-Play”:
The ‘Art Market’ is already cynical, patronising, unethical and geared for the very-very-rich, we don’t see a point in making an online ‘Art fantasy land’ like that too.
OWW is as far away as possible from ‘social casino’ and ‘Pay-to-win’. No matter how poor you are, if you are creative (you are), opinionated (that too) and enthusiastic, you’ll do great in OWW.
Fair-to-Play means that OWW has no loot boxes (sorry) and no ‘real money’ required to buy any of the game elements – you can realise your way to whatever you like, organically.
Basically, you select your basic avatar and add attachments like hats or masks to it, work your way through a step-by-step tutorial to learn the basics, then build the floor and walls of your own personalized art gallery, selecting from an impressive array of 18th, 19th, and 20th-century artworks. Essentially, you curate your own art gallery, arranging the art as you prefer, then invite other avatars to come visit! You can also teleport to other avatars’ galleries. It’s a very cool idea.
Here’s a picture of me (in my Guy Fawkes Mask, centre) standing in front of my first wall of art. I picked plain white walls so as not to distract from the paintings. You can also select how you wish to frame your works, from a selection of frames. It’s all very easy to do, drag-and-drop using the OWW user interface. The frames automatically adjust to the art you are framing.
Here are a couple of shots of me exploring other curated art collections.
I shot the following one-minute video to give you an idea of what to expect when exploring within the galleries of Occupy White Walls. I am the black-and-red avatar wearing the Guy Fawkes mask, with my name “ryanschultz” hovering over my head in white letters. I walk around the gallery created by a user named halfmambo, which was mostly empty of art (except for one section), but full of what appeared to be animated bots (very strange!). There’s even a bright blue flash near the beginning, when a portal opens up and an avatar steps into the scene from another gallery!
Seriously, this is one of the trippiest experiences I’ve had in a while. You should check OWW out for yourself, you can join their alpha test by going to their webpage and downloading the software (I also joined their Discord channel, where someone whitelisted my email address so I could actually get into the alpha, you’ll probably need to do that too.) There are also user forums, where you can post problems and questions.