The client, VonMises, requested a "Miami Art Deco style" NFT gallery with a Founder’s Lounge and secondary gallery or annex. Purpose to show a large collection of CryptoPunks in the main gallery, rare and early CryptoKitties in the Founder’s Lounge, and other NFTs collected by the landowner in the Gallery of Hope (annex), like Xcopy, Josie, Hackatao, Katy Arrington, Gert-Jan Akerboom, Monfa Cabrera… Made in 2020 (process began in June, coinciding with the first Art Week celebrated in Decentraland)
We started the process by doing extensive research into the colourful Art Deco movement in Miami and put together a concept board with the client and our favourite references. One of the client’s favourite real life references was the Hoover Building in London.
Brainstorming + Problem Solving
Then we spent time thinking about how best to structure the building and connect different parts of the gallery. The client wanted to show at least 30 crypto punks alongside a number of other NFTs, including gif and video artwork. This is above the Decentraland limitations for an 8 parcel scene. We spoke to the client about reducing the amount of artwork on display, however they really wanted to display a large collection. So, we figured out a way to convert the clients’ collection of 30+ crypto punks to one texture, meaning the scene would be within DCL limitations and perform better. This was done via a resampling process where each pixel of the crypto punks was remapped onto a new texture, similar to image atlases used in game design.
3D modeling and texturing
Most of the 3D modeling was done by teammate FGR3D, who has a great eye for detail. As we planned to display a large amount of NFTs, we needed to keep the building’s texture count down. For this reason we used mostly simple materials (without image textures) like flat colours. This meant we would need to rely more on geometry for details than on textures, however we had a decent amount of triangles to play with given the size of the estate.
Rapture (Main Gallery)
The main gallery was designed to show as many CryptoPunks as possible, and for them to be visible through the large entrance. For this reason, an eye-level centre display area was created and bigger frames were put around the internal gallery walls. visitors can interact with any of the CryptoPunks, when hovering over them with the cursor, the punk number and rarest trait are shown. (Show example of this). They can also be clicked and viewed on LarvaLabs for more details and the option to purchase.
One of the client’s main requests was to have a stained glass feature wall. FGR3D spent many hours testing different shapes, patterns and colours until deciding on these designs. At the time, it was the first stained glass, and Miami Art Deco style building in DCL.
Stained glass is used inside to create a soft partition between the main gallery and the Hope Annex. It’s also used outside on either end of the building, these panels were designed to be visible from both the inside and the outside of the building. We wanted the stained glass to be visible on both sides in order to have as much detail in the scene as possible without going over the texture and polygon limitations for the estate.
Founder’s Lounge / Bar
The client wanted a special room to display their earliest and most valuable NFTs, for this they requested a separate dark, elegant bar area. The Founder’s Lounge can be accessed by one of the two lifts in the building. In the Founder’s Lounge you can also find the original launch POAP from 8/8/2020. Another section of stained glass was designed to be visible both from the Founder’s Lounge and the exterior of the building. Alongside a series of custom drinks, bottles, ashtrays and a blazing cigar. In this area we used the gold fancy NFT frames provided by the Decentraland Utils Library, in other rooms we kept the frames minimal to enhance the luxury of the Founder’s Lounge.
Gallery of Hope (Annex)
The annex, called Gallery of Hope, is a very important part of Rapture. It has an independent entrance on the side of the building, and can also be accessed from the main gallery. It has two floors, the second is accessible via one of the lifts. The space is dedicated to the client’s daughter, and houses artwork by independent artists such as Xcopy, Josie, Hackatao, Katy Arrington, Gert-Jan Akerboom, and Monfa Cabrera.
Top Walkway (Building for the future)
Whilst working with the client, we also wanted to make sure their building was ready to scale with them and Decentraland as the platform continues to develop. They wanted to be able to show more artwork in the gallery in the future and we believe the platform’s limitations will change as it continues to develop.
The walkway is accessible via the Founder’s Lounge elevator, stay on it to go up one more floor and visit the walkway.
This scene has two animated objects, in 2020 at the time of development, any more than this would lead to a memory overload. Nowadays there seems to be a greater bandwidth, though it’s good to be mindful of performance in world and how it can vary from person to person.
The two animated models are the lifts, one to the Founder’s Lounge and top walkway, the other to the Hope Annex.
Coding for Decentraland
Basic scene set-up
The scene makes use of several DCL SDK tools, such as trigger layers, utils**, clickable/interactive items
The scene streams music from ravePartyRadio 24/7. Not many radio stations can be connected to Decentraland due to CORS (Cross Origin Resource Sharing) Policies, however RavePartyRadio works well and plays great music. https://ravepartyradio.org/
POAP (also 2D POAP image design)
For the launch event, VonMises asked us to design an image for the POAP that would be distributed to visitors. He planned to hang this image in the gallery too, as a keepsake of the event. We designed the image and submitted it to the POAP admin team for approval. Once approved, we uploaded the claim codes to HP’s server (thank you HP!) and coded the POAP machine, button and event details into the scene.
NFTs (real and simulated)
Though the Decentraland SDK has built in tools to open a user interface that can call on and interact with many NFTs, this isn’t the case for all collections, such as CryptoPunks - which are from LarvaLabs https://www.larvalabs.com/cryptopunks.
Therefore we used a different approach to link these NFTs into the scene. Rather than pulling in the actual NFT images and linked data, we made pixel for pixel replicas of the punks to be displayed. We then exported these replicas as textured image planes and positioned them in the gallery. We wrote custom code for each cryptopunk to link to the corresponding NFT on Larvalabs and for the on-hover interaction to show the punk’s # and rarest trait.
Updates over time
Pixel improvement for punks Native Decentraland pixel resampling. Whilst working on the crypto punks resampling, we noticed inconsistencies between our digital work and its representation in Decentraland. We reached the conclusion that DCL has a native resampling system to improve performance, however it was interfering with pixel colour and distribution on the punks. As disabling this wasn’t an option, we adapted our texture atlas to better match how Decentraland perceives textures.
Counterintuitively, the less pixels we used for each punk, the more accurate the results would be. After much trial and error, and some advice from coder friends like Pablo.dcl.eth, we exported the resampled image in 8 bits. There are still some inconsistencies in world, especially as colour reacts differently on the platform, but it is as close as possible for now.
Rapture Gallery has also been rented out to other businesses for special events, as was the case with Gray Inc.
We were delighted for VonMises to put us in touch with this company and retrofit the gallery for their specific requirements. In this case, we prepared a series of 3D spaceships for the Decentraland platform. Gray Inc. had already designed the spaceships, we adapted them to render correctly on the web browser and be less performance-heavy. To complete the Gray exhibition, we changed most of the artwork in the gallery for custom images provided by Gray. Some of these images were NFTs and linked to the corresponding collection profile. Others were images of cool tech products made by Gray, and could be clicked on to see the item on Gray’s website.
The Gray exhibition ran for a total of two weeks, after which time it was replaced with the original Rapture Gallery files.