In this month’s Devlog, we’re addressing the financial impact of the Alpha delay. Ensuring long-term stability, we’re investing in Unreal 5.2 for improved performance, visuals, and procedural world-building tools. We’re also working on foundational features for a creation tool suite, allowing users to create, save, and load items in multiplayer environments. Progress on the highway system is promising, with a shift towards a more efficient approach. Finally, we’ll touch on the AI prototype and where that might lead. Let’s jump in!
A frank discussion about the costs of the delayed Alpha is worth having this month, and we’ll start with some marketplace realities. Our projections for game operations included revenue generation in the earliest versions of the live metaverse. We’ve talked in the past about brand activations through interactions in the world, and partnerships with trusted companies like Travala are the model we expect in the fully realized product.
Additionally, while we are still proud to have Mine Runner live and a starting point to those people just discovering Netvrk, keeping that live has costs that were to be offset by revenue, which again is delayed.
We are investing more time and resources into the first Alpha because, as much as we want to be fast, a stronger release makes a bigger impact with the people we have lined up for investment and influence. This bigger impact we are aiming at will influence all fronts of the project, including the utility of the token.
So we have adjusted our projections and made allowances that support our long term stability. Some of these adjustments are visible, and some are parts of the company operations that would be best to not let our competition have access to. We know that the community understands the balance we are striking of communication and good business practices. We are still very excited about the future, and all of our recent meetings with groups interested in the space only validates that excitement!
Your feedback is invaluable in shaping the future of Netvrk. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to use our dedicated Feedback channel here. This will ensure that it gets in front of the eyes of the entire core team.
Development Team Update
Unreal Engine 5.2
Early in the month of August, the development team began looking at the feature list available in the newly released update to Unreal Engine, the 5.2 version. After the evaluation, the decision was made that the feature set warranted the risk we would take on to bring our builds up to this latest release. The conversion did touch much of the current technology, the time invested has been considered a win for not just our current development but also future work. Cycles were diverted to make this happen, but ultimately we are happy with the results and with the concept of not putting out into the future the tech debt we would have incurred had we pushed off this update.
The migration to 5.2 mainly helped greatly with performance, one of the challenges we have been targeting for this first Alpha. This update also has improved visuals with lighting that are also optimized for our performance targets. Finally, the update has helped us integrate procedural world building tools, a feature integral to accelerate the release of the future biomes.
Save/Load of Build Outs
The feature that received more attention apart from the update is that work that can be considered the foundational features to what will become the creation tool suite. One of the previous prototypes that resonated the most with the community was the customization of personal spaces prototype, where an apartment was outfitted through various schemes and vanity items. With that prototype as our guide, we began the foundation work. This work is the ability to create, save, and then load a build-out of items, and then have that build-out instantiate so that it works in a multiplayer environment. There were savings found by utilizing the objects created for the prototype, and the feature is not complete, but we are excited to say that the feature is implemented and going through internal testing into this next month. To say we are pleased to begin the tool suite is putting it mildly.
Interstate Travel System
There is also work being done on the highway system in the world. Being as big a virtual spaces as we are planning, the ability to move around the world through a road system has been one of the front burner features. It has proven to be challenging, similar to planning for a system in the real world. Progress has been promising in the last month, as the feature is now in a more system-building mindset rather than an asset-building mindset. By thinking about the process as a system of building roads, rather than building roads as needed, we are expecting a faster deployment of roads in all of the different biomes. The below renders and video are some of the early grabs from this road building system feature.
On a parallel track to the above work, prototype work was done in the last month on the integration of AI functionality into our NPCs, as the below video demonstrates. This work is expected to not just bring life to our vast metaverse and enable features like customizable characters and companions, but is also rich in gameplay concepts. Designs are being iterated on for the ideas of quests in the world, but deeper than the ‘find me three gems’ quests that are the subject of well-deserved ridicule. We envision a “Among Us” style murder-mystery arc that could span entire districts of the world or seasons of time. These designs are in the early iteration phase with the longer goal of putting the quest making tools into the hands of community members, to allow them to ‘program’ NPCs and set them loose into the metaverse to become autonomous. For store owners, this could mean creating NPC staff to allow for stores to be open while creators are offline. The feature is rich, and frankly necessary for a fully functional world, which is what makes the prototype so engaging.
The last development team note is that we have added stability to our back end build machine. This process which helps automate builds so that testing can be done each day had accumulated debt that had to be addressed, and some cycles in August were also applied there.
OG Avatar Update
Netvrk is constantly evolving, and that includes our OG avatars! They will become more lifelike and detailed than ever before. From realistic facial expressions to intricate clothing textures, this update will represent a significant leap forward. Here’s a sneak peek of the Adam avatar:
Blockchain Team Update
The Blockchain Team has been diligently developing an innovative referral system designed to enhance the Netvrk experience. With this new system, our valued users will have the opportunity to refer other users they meet in the metaverse to partake in minting Netvrk NFTs while reaping fantastic rewards in return.
Here’s how it works: when one user refers another user to successfully mint NFTs, the referrer becomes eligible for exciting rewards. These rewards are thoughtfully calculated based on their holdings.
We’re gearing up to launch a new Zealy contest soon. But guess what? You don’t have to wait to get started. We’ve rolled out special Zealy quests, found in the Boost Zone section, for those who can’t wait to dive in. Complete these quests and earn a headstart for the upcoming contest where you can win Netvrk prizes! Check out the Zealy Quests and get ahead of the game!
Winner of the Ruler NFT
We invited you to ask questions to our first AI, Ruler, and you didn’t disappoint! Your curiosity sparked amazing inquiries. Ruler was quite impressed and has chosen the winner of our giveaway. Congratulations, TheQueerGuy! You’ve won a Ruler NFT. Stay tuned for more interactive experiences like this one.