When it comes to designing a metaverse map, it’s more about the vibe than practicality. From space pods to jungle islands and celebrity neighbors, users want to feel like they are someplace special.
What considerations go into designing a metaverse platform? Insiders explain that one key factor is that virtual worlds need to be created with features familiar to their human users — even if such elements, like beaches and nature preserves, offer no practical benefits in virtual reality. Old habits die hard, and people prefer spaces that are familiar and, ideally, neighboring a celebrity like Snoop Dogg.
Alexis Christodoulou, a 3D architect who has been creating virtual spaces for 10 years and NFTs for two, recently got the job to design 2117, a space-themed metaverse platform imagining the United Arab Emirate’s stated goal to colonize Mars in the year 2117.
“If I was told to just build a metaverse, I’d have had a proper nervous breakdown — starting with a space pod was intuitive.”
Outer space, like the metaverse itself, is a foreign environment for humans. Looking 100 years into the future, it is easy to imagine a creepy, inhuman, alien-like ship without many points of familiarity. Instead, Christodoulou has aimed to form the environment into one that appears comfortable, familiar and inviting.
Noticing that his early design seemed a little cramped, “I started putting windows in the space pod and realized it was more comfortable” — a concept that sounds odd, given it is effectively a video game, but somehow makes intuitive sense.
“We’re still so human and base everything on the real world because we haven’t spent long enough in the metaverse,” he reasons, explaining that real-world bias explains why people are likely to prefer secluded metaverse beaches or islands instead of properties closer to infrastructure, such as portals. “We still have real-world values in the metaverse, but that might change in 10 years,” Christodoulou predicts.
To begin the virtual future journey to Mars, users need to purchase a “citizenship card,” an NFT that gives users access to their pods. Like in any work of fantasy, there is an element of worldbuilding that needs to be created by which the designed space is made to follow a certain logic.
“How does the spaceship work? What is…