Game Overview: Somnium Space

by Rebecca Addison & The Atlantean

Sales of non-fungible tokens are gaining widespread attention after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold the first-ever published tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million in March. However, gamers have been familiar with NFTs for some time.

NFT sales are the backbone of a new crop of blockchain-based games that have emerged in recent years. They include Somnium Space, a virtual reality platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. Somnium Space is an open VR world where players can buy land, build or import objects, and socialize.

Somnium Space was launched in 2018 for PC VR headsets. In 2019, the platform held its first Initial Land Offering and one fifth of the world’s parcels were sold for $200,000.

“We have partnered with Loom and OpenSea — recognizable leaders in the blockchain industry to make sure that our process of ILO (Initial Land Offering auction) and blockchain integration is well designed, programmed, and executed,” Artur Sychov, Founder & CEO Somnium Space, said in a press release. “We are dedicated to delivering a long lasting and decentralized in-game economy with an ability for everyone to start monetizing their experiences and creations from day one.”

Last year, Somnium Space auctioned virtual land for almost half a million dollars in just 10 weeks. This month, the platform boasted $1.7 million in NFT sales in a single week. Here’s what you need to know to get in on the action.

Persistent and social VR

Oftentimes in VR games, players are presented with limited instances. However, the Somnium Space platform is persistent, offering a seamless experience for players thanks to its hybrid server technology. That means players won’t experience loading screens while walking through the world and every player can experience things concurrently in real time.

This technology is essential for the social component of Somnium Space. The platform hosts a number of regular events like concerts, debates and sporting events, for users to interact. There’s a daily meetup in-world at 3:00 pm PST/6:00 p.m. EST where users can socialize, discuss the latest news, and explore the world. Last year, Somnium Space hosted a virtual art and music festival inspired by Burning Man. And last month, an artist hosted an art gallery opening on the site.

Your first parcel

Each land parcel is an NFT, which means it cannot be forged or duplicated. Land can be bought and sold through the OpenSea Marketplace and transactions are stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Each land token has its own unique coordinates in the game and the value of your land depends on its location.

New players spawn at the Somnium Waypoint. This area is the center of the Somnium universe so the closer your land parcel is to this point, the more views and visits your land parcel will get which is essential for monetization. Other factors that contribute to the value of your land include your parcel’s proximity to popular areas, size, proximity to the waterfront, and view.

If you’re interested in getting started in Somnium Space, but don’t have the money to invest in a land parcel, you can also rent land from other players.

Creating your world

Somnium Space offers a number of opportunities for creators. In addition to building on their land, users can build and import other objects to showcase and sell. For example, artists can showcase objects like sculptures and 2D and 3D paintings. Players can also create custom avatars that can be sold through the marketplace. Users can create their avatar using third party design software and upload it using the Somnium Unity SDK. A variety of other objects can be uploaded through the Somnium Unity SDK as well.

For in-game creating, Somnium Space uses a drag and drop editor to make building simple. The Somnium Space Builder is an easy to use tool for creating and uploading structures to your land parcel. The user interface allows players to pick and place objects, and manipulate the placement and dimensions of objects. Users can apply standard or custom textures and color to objects, and manipulate other object specific properties.

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