Looks like we have a few good questions today.
Yeah, I think so. It’s pretty interesting. A lot of our answers came from Twitter this time, usually, they come from our Discord and occasionally they come in through email but it looks like all of the questions came in through Twitter. So that's kind of interesting. With us as Dan Burdick and happy new year Dan.
Happy new year buddy, you have a good one?
I did, I did, my last few New Year celebrations have been pretty low key but this time I got to actually celebrate and you know, have fun and do the whole thing right. How about you?
Yeah, it was good, rung in the new year with some friends at their house and sing some karaoke, it was nice.
Right on. So kind of the theme of this AMA is sort of reflecting on 2022 because 2022 was a pretty big year wouldn’t you say?
Yes, momentous, lots of things happened with us and in the industry as well of course.
So I'm going to have some questions for you about reflecting on 2022. But I kind of want to jump in and just do a question that was submitted by a fan. And I think I'm just going to start at the top and the question is.
<div id="1" class="anchor">What strategies do you have in mind for driving the crypto industry forward?</div>
Yeah, so something that I think is very key for us is finding a way through broadly adopted gaming avenues for crypto to become more of a standard way of, you know, engaging with our purchases and, and creating digital collections. So we're doing that through card games. Other people are focusing more on the tech.
But our goal is to make it so that it becomes much more standard to make these types of purchases and create wallets so that you can engage more fully with your favorite game. And we want to be one of the key players that brings crypto to the world by having just some really clean and clear applications. So I think that's the primary way that we're going to contribute at least initially towards advancing the industry.
It's sort of like the world needs a reason to care about crypto and to use crypto. And I think there's going to be a big burst in the next you know, two, three, five years of more and more applications where organizations give people reasons to care about crypto.
Right. Absolutely. And gaming is such a natural one because it's got its own currencies. As just a natural part of the ecosystem. And then card games in particular, or games where you collect things are also fantastic, you know, particularly for NFTs obviously.
Yeah, when I first heard about NFTs and started to learn more about it, it was just the first thing that came to my mind was, “Oh, this just seems like such a clear avenue to, you know, facilitate card collections”.
Right. Yeah, absolutely. So, I would say that you know, there aren't any immediate term plans for this, but a way that I can imagine us moving the technology forward in the future is being part of having wallets kind of be more like looking at a collection of cards, you know, like, you know, integrating wallet technology with the idea of like, a collection screen or deck building screen and things like that. I think that in the future, we'll see wallets being more integrated into the UI of games. And so I could imagine a partnership in the future with a wallet or even developing one of our own, but that's not on our immediate timeline. But that's the type of technology that I imagine gaming moving things forward with.
So I kind of want to backtrack a little bit and maybe talk about, reflecting a little bit more on 2022. The question is.
<div id="2" class="anchor">What was the moment Verses became “real” and were NFTs always a part of the plan?</div>
It definitely loomed over development early on, but crypto and NFTs weren't initially an integral part. Because we knew we were going to make games either way. And then you know, like you were saying, As you learned about the technology, it just seemed like a perfect fit. And so we just naturally moved more and more into it.
Especially as we have like a repository of art so it became a really natural transition to start making crypto and NFTs and now NFTs are a huge part of the project.
I would say like day one of Verses development. There are a couple of different inflection points. You know, there's the day we really started the initial wave of NFTs where that kind of like made things real because we're committed to utilizing those pieces in the game. And in having the sales of that kind of original art being a part of the ecosystem and the rewards that people will receive forever.
There's also the moment we became fully funded last year, which, you know, at a certain point when you're bootstrapping and utilizing all your own funds. You know, you're definitely a real project of course, but you know, things are a lot more up in the air about, you know, how guaranteed we are to come to fruition, and now that we're much closer to feeling that type of guarantee through finding funding, you know, that that's something that really drives you forward because you’re no longer bootstrapping and you can start to really have like some of your plans become implemented because, you know, budget, budgetary restrictions change. So those were two of the big inflection points. Yeah.
So you mentioned launching that first batch of NFTs as a big milestone and that kind of feeds perfectly into one of the questions that someone submitted, which is.
<div id="3" class="anchor">What makes your NFTs attractive, and what are the advantages for holders?</div>
So this sounds like, you know, a good question to answer if someone's maybe not familiar with the project, or maybe they weren't around when we launched our NFTs
Right, yeah. So I think that you know, we've only just begun our launch of NFT sales and our business model surrounding them. So there'll be a lot I think, really interesting player-friendly and collector-friendly aspects of our business model that people haven't seen yet. But even just from the beginning, the initial NFTs that we launched, are like beautiful classic art from you know, renowned artists in fantasy and sci-fi. And they're functioning as original art pieces that are going to funnel into a much larger ecosystem of card games. So these art pieces will be used on cards and the collectors will receive those cards, and then we'll sell cards as NFTs, we’ll also have special editions. You know, starting with like, the simplest original art forms, and then branching out as more and more of the games get developed, or initial game and you know, our entire franchise gets developed, there'll be a wide variety of NFT offerings that will provide all kinds of awesome experiences in game you know, just short of buying the actual power, because we're not predatory in that way.
But yeah, the NFTs are, are going to be an exciting part of the entire play ecosystem. From the high-end collector all the way down to somebody who wants to play for free, can earn NFTs. So that's something that is super key to our model, as well as collectors that want to buy in but for just like $1 here and there, all of that is available. And so, I think one of the biggest strengths that we intend to bring to market with our business model is that all different types of people can experience the awesomeness of collecting, collecting cards, and getting something special that they identify with, regardless of exactly how much money they're bringing to the table. So it's NFTs for the people, while also providing awesome investment opportunities for collectible opportunities anyway.
You know, when I was really introduced to the project, I saw the artist list of the artists who contributed art for the first batch of NFTs, and to be honest, my jaw kind of dropped. As a hardcore magic player, I saw these artists like Ken Meyer Jr, Pat morrissey-Lewis Stephan Martinie, Jeff Laubenstein, Drew Tucker, and Brian Snoddy. So many of these artists have signed cards that are in my cube.
Another point I kind of want to add is that when if you have the Signature Edition or the Foundation Edition NFTs like you're kind of locked in, at getting a lot more NFTs and all of the different versions of all the different game pieces that are going to, you know, come from that art. So it's really when you buy one of, the Foundation or the Signature Edition NFTs you're really gonna get a lot more down the line. You know, once people are playing the game and things become, you know, I guess more adaptive, in terms of like the game pieces available and game experiences available.
Right? Yep. Awesome.
So you know, getting funding was obviously a huge milestone in 2022. And, my next question is.
<div id="4" class="anchor">What are some milestones in 2023 that you're looking forward to?</div>
Of course, continued development of the client. And specifically, a big milestone will be getting the demo 100% ready. We're hard at work on it. There are lots of awesome art assets. Those take some time to create like the 3D world that your cards turn into when you play Verses, and so getting that demo prepared is one of the biggest goals for 2023. And then along with that, you know, generally having the client and the build ready, more and more for in-depth playtesting.
Right now our play test process is a bit more challenging than it would be if we had the game further along in development. It's a bit of a catch-22 because you have to anticipate what you need to create, build it and then test it to find the fun. I come from the digital world and I also come from the analog paper card game world and it's a lot easier to create cards when and playtest whenever you're not also trying to simulate a 3D video game as well.
That's the thing that we think is gonna be the most exciting aspect of Verses, is that you're bringing cards to life, and it feels like a video game rather than just a chess board. And so getting the game is far enough along that we can have some of those end-user experiences. So we’re looking forward to continued development, and particularly the delivery of the demo, which will certainly happen this year as well.
I'm so excited about those milestones. I mean, the game model is so flexible and can do so much that there are just so many interesting levels and environments and cards and characters that we can make. I'm just so excited for the point where we have a bunch of them already more or less set in stone and we can really start to experiment with different cards and different characters and different levels and different game modes. Because I feel like the ceiling on Verses and what it can do and the types of games you can experience is just so high.
Yeah, absolutely. And that's very intentional, that there's a really wide range of possible experiences.
The next question is.
<div id="5" class="anchor">What would you say were some of the biggest challenges of 2022?</div>
Well, I'll say that the continued biggest challenge for me operating as our lead designer and vision officer is working remotely, that’s one of the things that I find personally the most challenging. I’m definitely an extrovert and so you know, being able to, like hook into other people's energy and you know, be in a room together and just like going over card files, playtesting, and sharing these experiences all in unison, is something that works a lot better for me than working remotely. That said, we've got a decent amount of our colleagues all living in the Seattle area. So you know, maybe we'll set up an office in Seattle to have more of those live experiences.
You have me thinking about the game jam we did in 2022 and just sort of the… I think you put it perfectly, energy really is the right word for it. Like that shared energy among a group of people can really just go to a lot of places efficiently. I remember during our game jam that Zac Elsik would just come up with a game model and, you know, next thing you know we're testing that game model, and then a few hours later, he has an entirely different game model to test some other concept. And now we're doing that and it's just the shared energy of all of these different people all giving feedback, you know, kind of all happening simultaneously. It's kind of hard to capture that magic. remotely, I think.
Yep. I agree.
So I want to go back to one of our user-submitted questions about the Verses story. I really love the Verses story. I touch the Verses story a lot in my day to day because a lot of times the content marketing has to do with the Verses story, or the Verses story is almost woven into a lot of it. Anyway, the question is…
<div id="6" class="anchor">Do we have any plans for creating Ebooks or comics for the lore?</div>
Yeah, that's a really awesome idea. This question I'm seeing is like, kind of half a question and half a suggestion really. More and more, we want to continue developing both the website and just the general way that we're presenting stories, sending them out to people, and making them accessible.
So I think that we may do something that's literally an Ebook that you can download which sounds like a really interesting way for people to get a full experience, kind of like buying a lore book. But additionally, I think we’ll continue making it so that the website feels like you're immersed. You know, the question asked here is suggesting, including graphics. And, you know, creating like, concise, you know, visual plus texts lore books. And that sounds just like a fantastic idea and that type of thing can be done through the website, as well as creating, you know, an official PDF Ebook or something like that.
And something else that we've talked about is potentially at some point in the future doing paper books as well. Maybe some type of like, special edition coffee table book. And again, making sure that there are awesome visuals to accompany these stories because we're a visual game. And you know most of the stories that have been written are based on individual art pieces, and bringing that piece to life through storytelling. So I love the suggestion and I concur with the user here that you know, graphics and multimedia are how you bring stories to life. You know, video games are a great example of this. And just always making sure that there are beautiful visuals to accompany our text.
I know that the idea of like a comic book has come up a lot internally and I would just love to have a physical copy of you know, whether a lore book or different stories. I just recently started to read comics and manga. You know, I had never touched them for years. But in 2022 I just started. I'm currently reading through the invincible series right now. And I would just love to see Verses on the page in a similar way.
Yeah, that'd be awesome. It was my dream when I was a kid to be a comic book writer. So even though I haven't directly written one of our stories yet, it's still something that excites me to think about, like creating that type of media. And that is something that is fundamental about Verses, we're not just making a single game. We intend to make a franchise more in the vein of, you know, Pokemon than a game that doesn't have any surrounding other media. So that's all in our you know, kind of five-year plan.
We have the lore and the stories to do it. The lore is pretty deep, the stories are great, and it's all pretty detailed and well-woven in an interconnected way.
Yeah. I think our original stories that accompany each of the NFT releases are about the length of the Hobbit or something like that. 240 pages or something. Awesome.
Winding down for maybe the last question, and it's a bit more casual, the question is…
<div id="7" class="anchor">What games are you playing these days?</div>
Lots of Magic Arena. I got up to number three in the world a couple of months ago. So that was pretty thrilling and kept me hooked. You know, I used to work at magic and I think the very last set that I worked on is finally coming out, you know, like five years later. And so I've been playing a lot of Arena. I think that they've got something really interesting that they're doing right now, where they're offering up a bunch of different formats, and you try to kind of beat that format and get seven wins before you get three losses, and then you get a token that can enter you into the finals. If you do well in the finals, then you get a complete set of the next set. I'm impressed with this little promotional series that they've come up with.
But I’ve also been playing some Marvel Snap, it’s the mobile game of the year, so like one of the big games to come out recently, and so I’ve been learning a lot about that. It’s pretty interesting because of their approach to non-violent gameplay, which is one of our basic tenets. I’ve also been playing a lot of other games for general research as well as fun, like Clash Royale, which was a huge influence on us based on its real-time 3D aspects of card play.
I've also been playing some auto-clicker games. I don't know if you've ever played any of those Andy, but Cookie Clicker is one of the big first famous ones. Basically, they're idle games that will keep running whether or not you're interacting with them at all. I'm learning about some of the mechanics and ways in which they tried to keep those games interesting because one of the things that we talked about for Verses is the possibility of the ecosystem of play potentially being a cellular automaton where it continues to play itself, create the world, and progress even when the players aren't there inputting. It's a little bit funny because these auto-clicker games are really simple and ridiculous, but you know, they're an opportunity to learn what something like that would look like.
Yeah, I'd never heard of auto-clickers before. I kind of take a different approach to games where I usually just have one or two games that really capture my attention and I go pretty hard on those until they don't. I have to ask about your Magic Area run.
<div id="8" class="anchor">When you hit #3 in Magic Arena were you playing constructed, limited, or both?</div>
Both, I've been playing standard and limited.
I've been playing a lot of the vintage cube on Magic Online. And a lot of Marvel snap. I hit infinity on Christmas.
And I don't know what that is. But that sounds awesome.
It’s the rank 100 Plus. I’m curious, like, what do you play in Marvel snap? That's the game I'm playing the most lately.
<div id="9" class="anchor">What decks do you like to play in Marvel Snap?</div>
So I'm still very early. I haven't played nearly as much as a lot of my colleagues and friends. But I play like a weenie deck. So like all one drops, it's just pretty fun. It gets hosed by a lot of the sites.
I mostly played against that deck, but playing a little bit when I was back in pool one.
Right? Yeah, that's where I still am. Yeah, so I'm not nearly as sophisticated as some other people are. It's really cool. It feels like you can just keep battling and there's a lot of continued progress in Marvel Snap. They did a really good job in that way.
Yeah, I agree. To close us out, I want to give you the opportunity to say anything you want to say or maybe answer any questions that you wish were asked that type of thing.
<div id="10" class="anchor">Any last words or comments?</div>
Yeah, I want to say, and I know it's cliche, but we are really excited about the new year. And all the opportunities that our funding and our continually growing team have afforded us for really kicking production in high gear, so I'm excited about 2023. I don't know about you Andy, but I think this is gonna be an amazing year for Verses,
I'm excited. I feel like we're on that crest of, you know, it's all about to start to click and come together and a lot of the preparation is just going to finally start to really turn into reality in action, right?
Yes, absolutely. And that's what we're seeing. We're playing a lot more, you know, having a lot more game experiences, and learning more and more about what's going to be exciting for our players.
Yeah, absolutely. I want to thank anyone and everyone for listening. Our next AMA will be the first Thursday of February and that’s February 2nd. The plan is to have Alex West, and ask him sort of the same questions and get his reflections on 2022 and find out what he's excited about for the new year.