Dual Universe: A Brief Introduction

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An anonymous source told me about Dual Universe, which is an MMO/MMORPG which already has extensive in-world content creator tools. Dual Universe is by a company called NovaQuark:

Our goal is to create the first virtual online civilization, enabling millions of players to shape and share a universe of their own, together, at a scale never seen before.

A world with meaning, where everything you do has a permanent impact.

What we do is an old dream of Sci-Fi: create the first civilization online. Here millions of participants will be able to freely interact and build their lives and weave powerfully meaningful stories. If you are not afraid of trying to do the impossible, and are passionate about ambitious technology-driven projects, come join us.

My source tells me:

It’s in pre-alpha and I’m under a strict non disclosure agreement. But this is a link produced by the owners https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-47R9ZrcOg8 so it’s OK. The graphics are that good. It really does have building tools and NOT just for space ships, but buildings. It’s sort of a Second Life, but with a science fiction space underlying theme. It’s not divided up into separate experiences like many of the other newer virtual worlds.

Also look at the web site. https://www.dualthegame.com Which shows its not a complete flash in the pan since there is serious money involved.

Here’s the video:

If you pay 180 euros (US$209) for the Patron Pack, you can join the pre-alpha now. There are other, cheaper packs you can purchase for access to later versions of the alpha. The game has already attracted 6,850,878 € in funding, and over 30,000 eager users have already set up accounts.

You can follow the development of Dual Universe via their website, or via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It looks very interesting! The project reminds me of Worlds Adrift, which also has extensive in-world creation tools.

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UPDATED: Virtual Universe Has Launched Their Game Portal

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am choosing to participate in the Virtual Universe (VU) Initial Coin Offering Partner Program. Why? Two reasons:

  1. After my recent guided tour of VU, I feel very strongly that this is going to be a successful and popular virtual world/MMO hybrid platform, and I want to be a part of it when VU launches their beta this summer. This is the very first blockchain-based virtual world that I actually feel excited about!
  2. As a Canadian citizen, I reside in one of the three countries where I am currently legally forbidden from purchasing VU tokens (the other two are the United States and China). This means that the only way I can legitimately earn VU tokens to use in this social VR space before the beta launch is via the VU ICO Partner Program.

I want you to know this up front: this blogpost is a promotion for VU, in exchange for VU tokens.  You can follow on this webpage to see how many VU tokens I have earned by completing tasks in this Partner Program if you wish (right now, I am at number two on the VU Token Leaderboard). There’s nothing stopping you from participating in this Partner Program yourself, and earning some VU tokens!

IMPORTANT: VU Tokens are not a real currency. They are ERC-20 based blockchain tokens intended to permit players of Virtual Universe exclusive access to digital assets within a VR game known as Virtual Universe (VU). They are a form of in-game virtual currency.  Virtual value attributed to the VU Token will be as a result of in-game efforts by players, and no future value is represented or guaranteed.


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Virtual Universe Logo

This summer I have (rather impatiently) been waiting for the beta launch of the Virtual Universe social VR/MMO platform. The company’s original plans were for a private beta launch in July 2018, and a public beta launch in January 2019, and as far as I know, they are still on schedule.

In their whitepaper, VU is described as “part game, part social network, and part social creation platform, blending elements of Minecraft, Second Life and Simcity with innovative artificial-intelligence technologies that drive engagement”, and that is an excellent description of what it tries to be. It’s an intriguing mix of virtual world and MMO/MMORPG where you can collect wood, chop it up, and start a fire, feed worms to the AI-controlled bluebirds, or just explore your surroundings and interact with other users. As I understand from their recent Letter to the Community, explorers will be able to gather resources in the countryside in order to sell them:

Outside the city is our highly immersive LivingVR world, created from the ground up to feel as immersive as possible. Teeming with virtual life, beautiful sceneries and waiting to be explored by you. Let’s say you are exploring further than you have before and suddenly you discover a cave behind a waterfall. Inside it, you find rich copper deposits. You know copper is a desired resource in the city since its an ingredient in many crafting recipes for a wide variety of building blocks. You mine the copper and haul it back to the city. Once there you list your copper on the auction house and collect the cryptocurrency once someone wins the bid on it.

And it is not just resource gathering that can be done in VU, there will be plenty of quests available for you and your friends to experience exciting adventures with plenty of loot to be had!

We do know that there will be one main city in Virtual Universe, called Uruk (named after the ancient Sumerian city considered to be the first city in the history of civilization).

Today (July 6th, 2018), Virtual Universe officially launched their game portal:

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According to this brand-new website, you will be able to do the following in VU:

  • Own Property: Buy, sell, and invest in property. Purchase a unique property and customize it.
  • Start a Business: Generate BTC, ETH and VU through in-game product and service sales.
  • Find Hidden Treasure: Explore the planet and find hidden treasure. Recover lost artifacts in ancient ruins.
  • Adventure: Explore the Virtual Universe with your friends. Hang glide, sail, dive, and explore a vast world
  • Shape the Future: Shape the entire universe with decisions you make. Make your mark in VU.

Here’s the backstory:

THE STORY

You’re awake! Good. We have some catching up to do.

Earth as you know it is gone. Global warming and endless warfare left the planet in ruins. But humanity survived! Sort of… spaceships could make the journey to new planets, but human bodies couldn’t. They can’t survive any exposure to space radiation. The solution? House human consciousness in identity crystals, or IDCs for short, After all, isn’t consciousness that what makes a human, human?

So welcome to Uruk, the first city on the planet Raetis. For the past two years, your robot counterparts have been building Uruk. The ship you arrived on now serves as the city’s power source, which sits at the city center. We call this The Core. You’re joined by the thousands of other humans who continue to live through consciousness alone. It’s all right to not feel like yourself. Your chip has been activated inside an avatar, the way all humans now exist. So what’s next for you on this new planet? That’s for you to decide.

Explore Uruk with your friends. Sell your goods and services for real cryptocurrency. Even try on a new avatar for size – your IDC is compatible with any avatar here in Uruk. You aren’t confined in the borders of Uruk, either. The city relies on rare resources for power, which need to be uncovered and mined. You can help out, or simply explore the rest of your new home planet. But remember, most of Raetis is still a mystery. We can’t be sure what creatures or dangers lie amidst the planet’s rocky and cavernous landscape. The farther you venture from Uruk, the riskier your adventure becomes, so be careful!

It’s your life, do what you’d like. Welcome to your world.

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You can already claim an apartment from the website (there are 1,000 apartments available in what they are calling Genesis Towers):

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Here’s a sneak peek of the avatars from the Gameplay page on the website, which are a definite improvement over the simple placeholder avatars we used in my initial half-hour guided tour or Virtual Universe back in April:

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There are six different types of avatars, which at first glance appear to be similar to the character classes in most MMOs/MMORPGs like World of Warcraft:

  • Starter
  • Explorer
  • Creator
  • Merchant
  • Prospector
  • Warrior

And here’s some more details on the gameplay:

Play, explore and discover

Uruk is a gigantic city with endless opportunities. Participate in exciting adventures in the entertainment district, socialize with your friends in the finest clubs of the city and enjoy big community events!

Earn crypto rewards

Yup that’s right, you can earn cryptocurrency for playing our game. Help the community doing daily quests and get rewarded for your time and effort in VU tokens.

Harvest and sell resources

While you are exploring the vast landscape of planet Raetis, you will encounter a wide variety of resources. Gather these resources, bring them back to the city and sell them on the marketplace for cryptocurrency. But be careful, Raetis is full of hostile creatures so make sure you are prepared for battle before you venture into the unknown wilderness!

Shape the world around you

Collect enough VU tokens and you will be able to purchase your own plot of land on Raetis. Once you own your own corner of the world, you can shape it just the way you like it. Plant trees, place rocks, even design and construct your own home!

Customize yourself

Player will have a wide variety of avatars to choose from, all of them are highly modular so you can customize your character to make it unique!

Run a virtual business and earn crypto

If running around the world looking for rare resources is not your cup of tea then there is another major way for you to earn cryptos while playing VU: start your own virtual business! Purchase a commercial plot, construct one of the available player run ventures and start generating cryptocurrencies.

The website says, under the Beta tab:

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I did have a question. It says the VU closed beta is “only accessible to pioneers”, and when you click through, “This section is only accessible to pioneers. You can become a pioneer by purchasing VU tokens.” So, how will Chinese, Americans, and Canadians (like me) be able to participate in the VU closed beta if we are legally forbidden from buying VU tokens?

I asked this question on the official Virtual Universe Discord server, and Jeroen Van den Bosch, VU’s Chief Creative Officer and co-founder, told me:

We are working on a way that token holders (not just buyers) can upgrade to pioneer (so that would include people participating in the bounty program). But that functionality is not ready yet.

VU is going to have to find ways to include people from countries where we cannot buy the VU token. Otherwise, they will be excluding a large number of potential players.

The more details that the team at Virtual Universe reveal, the more intrigued about this project I become! I’m looking forward to setting foot on the planet Raetis!

UPDATE July 8th: Virtual Universe has announced an airdrop of VU tokens, and their Telegram server has been inundated with floods of new users! Over half of the 1,000 free apartments in Genesis Towers have already been claimed, and the rest are expected to sell out within the next 12 hours, so if you’re interested, you’d better hurry!

SECOND UPDATE July 9th: The apartments in Genesis Towers have sold out!

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Why I Am Excited About Virtual Universe

Yeah, can you tell I am excited about the upcoming beta launch of Virtual Universe?

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(Image courtesy of the Distracted Boyfriend Meme Generator)

And yes, I am part of the Virtual Universe (VU) Initial Coin Offering Partner Program (I’m currently number two on their VU Token Leaderboard). The main reason I am participating in that program is because it’s the only legal way I can earn VU tokens before the social VR space launches later this summer. Here’s a 10-minute video which explains the partner program in a lot more detail:


I think that Linden Lab should consider such a program to pay people in Sansar dollars for promoting Sansar on their various social media.

But people have been asking me, why am I excited about VU as opposed to other blockchain-based virtual world platforms?

Well, if you haven’t seen my recent half-hour guided tour of VU, I suggest you set aside some time to watch the whole video. I have been blistering in my criticism of other blockchain-based virtual world projects which are more hype than substance (Decentraland is a classic example) because they don’t have anything that you can actually visit yet. But in Virtual Universe, they not only have a place you can visit (currently, only by appointment), but they also have a very easy in-world content creation tool that is actually fun to use! And I was impressed by the many little added touches such as AI-controlled animals like lizards, rabbits, and bluebirds, even individual insects!

Now, Virtual Universe still has a lot of work left to do. Any virtual world project is a mammoth undertaking, and they still have to polish the user avatars (the current ones are merely placeholders, from what I understand) and other features. But it’s a very promising, and very impressive, start.

So yes, I am eagerly awaiting the launch of the beta version of Virtual Universe, even though Sansar is still my first love (and the reason I created this blog in the first place).

UPDATED! Ethernia: This Whole Blockchain-Based MMO Thing Has Gotten COMPLETELY Out of Hand

Sweet minty Jesus, but this whole blockchain-based virtual world/MMO thing has officially gotten out of hand. Check out this truly bizarre video that someone shared with me, for a new blockchain-based MMO called Ethernia:

I can’t tell is if this is meant to be a promotion for an actual product, or a joke (the voiceover is absolutely hyperbolic). I asked on the MMORPG subReddit about this, and apparently all the assets used in this video are from a free collection of Paragon game assets, which can be used in both commercial and non-commercial games.

Anybody know anything at all about this? I can’t find anything online at all about this Ethernia game. The website URL given in the video asks for a username and password, which immediately strikes me a highly suspicious. Someone is pulling my leg, right? This has to be a parody.

UPDATE 1:21 p.m. A sharp-eyed viewer has recognized the large stone monument at the top of the mountain in this video as being none other than Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer primarily known as a co-founder of Ethereum and as a co-founder of Bitcoin MagazineI’m betting this is a parody, and a very funny one if you actually know enough about cryptocurrencies to get the in-jokes.

The thing is, the person who originally shared this with me seems to think that this is an actual product. He tells me that the website opens on Monday for pre-registration.

Truly bizarre.

UPDATE May 31st: Surprise! Turns out Ethernia is an actual product after all! They now have a working website, and it looks like they are planning a launch in late 2018 or early 2019.

Worlds Adrift is a Promising-Looking MMORPG/Virtual World

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Wagner James Au of the long-running blog New World Notes has been following the development of an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) called Worlds Adrift, which he calls “the single-shard, open world sandbox MMO with physics, a working ecosystem, and user-generated content — i.e., a virtual world worthy of the term — running on the well-funded backbone of Improbable“.

He recently posted that Worlds Adrift is launching in early-access on May 17th. Now, I’m not a really big fan of MMORPGs (or MMOs, as some people prefer to call them), and I don’t really cover MMORPGs on this blog, but I did play a little bit of World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online back in the day, so I’m familiar with the concept.

Here’s a year-old introduction to the game:

And here’s their most recent teaser:

They refer to themselves as “the world’s first community-crafted MMO”, so they may tempt a few virtual worlds creators to join their early-access program. (Wagner reports that some Second Life users have become Worlds Adrift fans.) It certainly looks interesting! Here’s another video showcasing some of the worlds that people have already created: