Since 2013, the Ukledo team has been researching various techniques and technologies that enhance engagement in virtual experiences. The founders had a vision of what Virtual Reality (VR) entertainment could become.
It wouldn’t be a rehash of existing video game experiences, or sprawling real-estate metaverses. It didn’t involve complex development tools, chaotic chat rooms, or grainy 360 degree video. It would be our holodeck: a dynamic, artificial intelligence-driven, living world powered by exciting, endless storylines; a parallel universe where players could explore, experience, create, and share together.
We took those results and created an initial commercial prototype, The Grand Canyon Experience (GCE). The GCE was a leisurely kayak trip down the Grand Canyon with a number of unique interactions for the user. Our goal was to get user feedback for future development. We attracted over 15,000 paid users.
From this and other experiences, we have identified and innovated on what we believe to be the fundamental attributes a successful creative virtual social platform must have.
Creating a compelling experience is crucial to the success of any game. This is challenging enough on mobile, console or PC platforms. In Virtual Reality, the challenge is exponential, but the rewards are limitless.
Introducing Virtual Universe (VU)
Virtual Universe (VU) is an epic story-driven open world game in LivingVR™ powered by artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain technologies.
This multiplayer game allows users to connect with their friends and embark on emotionally-engaging grand adventures in a living world that is persistent, social, and rewarding. The adventure has multiple story arcs that surprise and delight players for the life of the game.
Part game, part social network, and part social creation platform, VU blends elements of Minecraft, Second Life, and Simcity with innovative artificial-intelligence technologies that drive engagement. Players can choose to simply experience the adventure, or help create it. Becoming part of VU is rewarding and easy for gamers and casual players alike.
To create the most realistic and convincing forms of interaction, VU uses patent-pending engagement technologies that modify experiences in real-time based on player data and input from experiential elements.
VU integrates crucial components and technologies that are essential to the success of VR gaming. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these elements:
A Technical Method for Non-linear Storytelling
Story-driven experiences in VU provide players with purpose. Too often, games, social spaces, or co-creation tools suffer from a lack of purpose that results in aimlessness. Our adventure has multiple story arcs that surprise, delight, and motivate players over the lifespan of the game.
In VU, there is no reset or pause button. Actions have consequences, and the in-game experience evolves in “parallel real-time” (adjacent to time in the real world). Whether the user is in the game or not, the universe and storyline continue to evolve.
Community Driven Experiences
As VR finds its audience, it is crucial to provide social experiences through which players can build and find a sense of community. A thriving community provides a context in which to explore the game, create, and share (both in and out of VR). VU is at its core, a community-driven experience.
Intuitive and Immersive Co-creation
Providing players with the tools to create and express themselves fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the game. VU provides innovative and intuitive in-VR creation tools that enable non-developers to create and customize their own experiences in fun and rewarding ways.
User Generated Value
A thriving marketplace provides creative and entrepreneurial players the opportunity to leverage their talents and exchange value with other players.
Integrity and Security
Blockchain technologies track selected transactions, reduce fraud, and provide decentralization and integrity in the VU metaverse.
Realistically Unpredictable Non-player Elements
Virtual Reality delivers on the promise of highly immersive, intimate, and emotional experiences, but only if the proper realism is achieved. Because VR is so much “closer” to the player, non-interactivity erases a level of immersion. Interfaces and interactions are intuitive, and a physical part of the virtual world.
Similarly, interactions with objects and non-player characters (NPCs) must feel increasingly non-scripted if they are to maintain the sense of immersion players expect. VU is driven by sophisticated simulation. Environments and NPCs are powered using complex AI rather than rigid, predictable, scripted behaviors. To create the most realistic and convincing forms of interaction, VU uses patent-pending engagement technologies that modify experiences in real-time based on player data and input from elements in the experience.
VR, AR, and Mobile Support
Games that ignore mobile and AR in favor of experiences that can only be played in VR do so at their own peril. VU is multi-modal: participation will employ a variety of different technologies both in and out of Virtual Reality. The result is a persistent adventure that continues to engage even as the player goes about their day.
Bringing old videogame thinking to Virtual Reality doesn’t work. Dead environments and pre-scripted behaviors destroy immersion. Simply creating an aimless world results in chaos. Story is key to guide purpose and direction. Users need to be able to engage in a variety of ways, to create and exchange value, express themselves and share, all within the context of an exciting game story. Ukledo has an opportunity to use blockchain technologies as the basis of this new form of entertainment.
The Virtual Technology Revolution
The notion of a social platform for exploration, creation, and sharing has strong support. There is a craving for virtual engagement that is more than just something you do, but a place you visit and experience. Recent data demonstrate that exploration is the single-most demanded use for VR, outlined by Sketchfab in their report titled “VR Industry Trends: A comprehensive overview on the state of the VR industry in Q1–2017.”
The combined Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality (VR / AR) market is forecasted to reach $120 Billion (US) by 2020, according to Digi-Capital’s January 2016 Forecast. AR represents $90 Billion, and VR, $30 Billion of the total, respectively.
From major brands backing VR video experiences, to game companies experimenting with full-fledged gaming, to Apple and Google’s battle for dominance in the AR space, the Virtual Technology landscape is evolving rapidly — and is here to stay.
Both AR and VR are on a continuum known as mixed-reality (MR). In the next several years, mixed reality will enter all aspects of home and work life.
Market and investment support is increasing for entertainment in VR. The industry is growing steadily with interest from both traditional and virtual-focused funds in the second half of 2017. The number of gaming companies increased by 30%, game categories grew by 40%, and there were 35 titles with $1 million in revenue or more (Sketchfab).
Advancing Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is emerging as a significant entertainment platform thanks to the advancement of numerous technologies. Many of these individual technologies are touted as “the next big thing,” and any one of them alone has the capability to create massive disruption and revenue opportunities.
VU leverages multiple technologies to create an entirely new entertainment experience that will drive the future of virtual creation, social, and gaming.
The timing is right. Virtual is here to stay. The market is growing. We’re leveraging multiple emerging technologies to drive an innovative, dynamic and unique social gaming experience.
Read more about Virtual Universe (VU), our product roadmap, our team and advisors, and the upcoming opportunities to purchase VU tokens in our white paper: https://www.vutoken.io/#whitepaper
Learn more about Virtual Universe and VU token by visiting our website and signing up for email updates, visiting our Github, following us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram, or being part the discussion on Telegram and Discord.