Portals is a web-based metaverse platform that we've been working on this year that we're really excited to finally reveal and bring to the Solana ecosystem.
We started building Portals in early 2021 because we didn’t see a compelling and accessible metaverse emerging on the web. We want to be able to explore a dense, virtual Neo-Tokyo/New York and explore a single city block with hundreds of fun things to do and discover.
We are building a framework so that everyone is incentivised to invite cool people and create cool spaces for a thriving downtown. Real estate and token incentives will be distributed in a way that ensures a dense, interesting city center for new users to explore.
Instead of big land sales, we’re starting with user experience first to build a grassroots community of builders and players.
To achieve this, we have made it easy to build fun and interactive spaces right in your browser, no need to download apps. To start, it's like a hackable Animal Crossing, right in the browser.
This is a major experiment to see if a product-focused indie team can utilize the power of blockchains/DAOs — with properly designed incentives — to make for a better virtual city experience than what has been created thus far.
What it does
Explore, invite, chat, arrange/build, show off your NFTs.
Start exploring an experience room, with the potential to win valuable items and real estate NFTs for solving puzzles and proving yourself a worthy citizen of this new virtual city.
Create a space in one click. Arrange your perfect space, import your Solana NFTs to display them on the walls (NFTs are indicated by a silver border!). Display your favorite paintings/posters on the wall, put a YouTube player on the big screen and send a link to friends and hang out.
Build an experience room or adventure game by creating a room, placing items, and adding interactivity to them. Make any item link to a website, image or iframe. Then just share the link to your room and people will be able to experience your room. Eventually, creators will be able to monetize these creations by just sharing their room URL.
Virtual office. The Portals team is distributed through the US, UK, and Lisbon and have been working and building in our virtual Portals office - using the voice and screenshare features to get work done.
How we built it
As a web2/gaming team, this was our first time really diving into blockchain tech so there was a lot of R&D, but found the Solana documentation and Discord communities extremely helpful.
We switched from popular Unity multiplayer PaaS Photon to running our own multiplayer servers with Mirror -- which allowed us to overcome limits in room sizes. We are now able to support hundreds and hundreds of players in a single small area.
Challenges we ran into
There were some early challenges when it came to integrating with Solana, but not unexpected as we are green in this area, and there are inherent challenges using rapidly progressing technology with quickly changing NFT code bases and ever-evolving documentation. Fortunately, through working with the Solana communities and piecing together information, we were able to achieve what we set out to do. We are excited to see Solana ecosystem grow and that the community is constantly active and helpful. We hope to continue to participate and contribute to this ecosystem!
Syncing updates between a complex frontend build, Unity client build and Unity multiplayer server build has certainly been a DevOps challenge, but we're slowly but surely automating more and more of our systems.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This is our first time integrating with blockchain tech, so we're glad we were able to get some practice minting tokens, NFTs and integrating with the Solana NFT ecosystem through Metaplex and ARWeave. We're now beyond excited about the possibilities ahead. Token rewards for the type of community we're trying to build make a lot of sense.
What's next for Portals
Phase 1️⃣ (Solana Preview):
- Preview Demo
- Off-grid hang out (multiplayer)
- Egg hunt pt. 1
- Connect wallet + display NFTs in your room
- Watch Youtube in room
- Arrange furniture
- Wall + Floor system
- Voice / Text chat
Phase 2️⃣ :
- Easy item importing / marketplace (Many more virtual items, along with GLTF and 3D Solana NFT imports are being deployed in the next release.)
- Room ownership / permissions
- Room permissions based on NFT ownership
- DAO formation
- Tokens, items and real estate airdrops to active users + community contributors
- City council meetings
- Spatial audio
- Egg hunt Pt. 2
Phase 3️⃣ :
- On grid/ downtown early access
- On-grid commercial spaces
- On-grid residential spaces
- Real estate office
- Marketplace/bazaar for item resellers
- More downtown commercial spaces
- Experiences – escape rooms, dungeons, community created content
- On-grid public hangouts (crupto bar, city hall)
- Collaboration with NFT avatar creators to make Portals versions of the avatars