HOW TO FIX THE METAVERSE
BY EMILIO SANTOS CTO THREEDEE, INC.
WHAT IS THE METAVERSE? The metaverse is a virtual world where users (and businesses) will coexist in an alternative economy. Everyone will have their space and be free to be creative and make money out of it. For your business, you could sell either physical or digital goods or even generate revenue by displaying advertisements on your properties. This is the promise, but (and there is no pleasant way to say this), the metaverse has failed. In its first iteration, that is. Although it is more nuanced than this, you could argue a metaverse is akin to an open world game. There is no surprise then that the public has decided not to go there. Compare: It is obvious, why would you go into a world with 90s graphics? The technology is obviously there to create realistic, high-quality worlds and yet, all metaverse offerings from Meta to Decentraland asks the public to get excited about a low-quality product. This is not a matter of funding either, billions have been spent in this pursuit. And the question remains, if your metaverse looks and feels like Grand Theft Auto video game, would the metaverse have failed? The daily audience for Fortnite is 3 million daily users, for Decentraland is either 38 or 7000 depending on who you believe. At issue here is the sheer size and quality of 3d content needed for these enterprises. Currently, the vast majority of 3d content is created manually by highly skilled individuals.This is not a sustainable model but for a few elite companies in the world and not one that the metaverse makers have been able to replicate. Too much hiring, training and management required. Therefore: low quality, therefore no daily users. Roblox is the exception, not the rule. This problem is not endemic to the metaverse but to all media that require high quality graphics at scale. Most video games (save for the aforementioned elite) would simply limit scale, but this is not always possible and certainly not for the metaverse, which promises large worlds to explore. Similar endeavours, such as large-scale simulations (think, military) and animated movies are forced to either make do with trickery or throw large amounts of money at the problem. Most don’t even try. But there is a simple answer to this problem, albeit not a trivial one: Procedural Content Generation. The idea is that based on a limit set of information (something a small team could create), a procedural system would create large amount of 3d content, enough to create cities or worlds.With a click. Both academy and industry have been working on this for decades, and progress has been made.Today we can replicate natural phenomena to a high degree of accuracy. We can do terrains, trees, water, and clouds. Unfortunately, the natural world provides very small entertaining value in the virtual world.A stroll in the park is amazing and healthy while a stroll in the virtual word is just dull. We want cities, cars, foes moving around in a chaotic world that would feel endless to explore. And here comes the problem: urban environments do not follow the precise consistent rules of the natural world. Architectural styles vary wildly, structures must be connected and accessible, simple mistakes can render a structure unrealistic (the entrance of a building not facing the street, for instance). At the root of this problem is the fact that our brains are trained to detect and reject repetitive or unlikely content. Once the brain has rejected your world, you will never enjoy it again.Turns out this is a very hard problem and both industry and academia have struggled with it.
Our company Threedee Inc. has come up with a unique way to approach the problem. We developed and patented a new way to describe the content so our engine can interpret this language in infinitely possible ways therefore creating infinite variations of any model. Our results are varied and correct and can produce the organic look where users do not suspect the environment is computer-generated. In our workflow, the artist describes a structure and implicitly sets the rules of correctness and variation. Once such a structure has been successfully modelled, say, a house; you may ask the system to generate an entire neighbourhood with a click.
Every house in the neighbourhood will be distinctive and correct and it will come out of the gate walkable and interactable with. Extrapolating it is not difficult to get to entire cities and all the way to fully functional universes. Our vision is a world where lack of content does not hinder creativity or advancement, where anyone can create their movie, game or metaverse. Content for all: We envision a thriving community of creators paving the way for any consumer to simply choose the types of structures for their world and combine them into the future of entertainment and simulation. The important part here is that the end consumer must possess no skills at all. We call this Easy Modelling and believe it is the only way to get three-dimensional art to the masses. But some problems persist, as described, the user will be able to get one of infinite variations. Knowing that computers have a great deal of difficulty understanding beauty, the end user might end up with an unwanted variation.This is a traditional problem of procedural systems, and it closely relates to another big metaverse issue: the need for personalised content, the promise being that end users will be able to create their own spaces, personalised to their taste and shared within their network. Now, this is simply impossible unless the metaverse inhabitants have 3D modelling skills. We solved both problems by allowing user customization. Within the creator’s parameters, a user may modify any variation, for instance: a rounded house, three stories, French windows. Three clicks and of you go into your plot. Now imagine this at the city level, and the internal monologue would go: “a taller building in this plaza”, or “this all should be an industrial area”. Two clicks. This is the future of all arts, in our opinion, a blend of artists, machines and creative end users all producing the mountains of content that a virtual future demands.We are testing our approach by building a high quality metaverse while saving our client a million dollars.This is our work in progress, you be the judge.
Once we understand what it can be, it is not difficult to see why the metaverse has not worked in this iteration. Massive amounts of quality, personalised content is definitively needed in order to create an attractive environment where users can express themselves without specialised skills, in fact, empirical data suggest that the creation of these environments can be as satisfying as its consumption. The metaverse, in this iteration or the next, will succeed. But like anything else in life, the right tool needs to be available. With Threedee.io, a better metaverse is indeed possible.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS ARTICLE CONTACT EMILIO SANTOS CTO THREEDEE, INC. EMAIL EMILIO@THREEDEE.IO WWW.THREEDEE.IO