Web3 Galaxy Brain 🌌🧠

Web3 Galaxy Brain

vibes.art and [the reliquary] with remnynt

24 May 2022


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Nicholas: Welcome to Web3 Galaxy Brain. My name is Nicholas. At the end of each week, I sit down for a casual Friday afternoon conversation with some of the brightest people building Web3. In this episode, I'm joined by Remnant, creator of on-chain NFT collections, Vibes.art, and The Reliquary, which chat about Remnant's background as a mobile game dev, his transition into generative NFT art, and the influence of art blocks, terraforms, and corruptions on his practice. We dive into Vibes.art, his first on-chain JavaScript-based collection, and The Reliquary, his latest creation, which combines his interest in on-chain generative art and fantasy RPGs. I've never seen anyone use source code to tell a story in the way today's guest has. It was great chatting with Remnant about games, art, life, and code. I hope you enjoy the show. Thanks for coming through Galaxy Brain. How's it going? It's the first time I hear your voice, actually.

remnynt: I'm honored to be here. Yeah, I've been listening to your Solidity podcast. I subscribed on Apple. I loved hearing Cyborg Roise from the Cyber Brokers the other day. And yeah, and coming in the Twitter spaces, I remember when Math Castle's minted, just hanging out, vibing, and being really excited about those mints coming through.

Nicholas: Yeah, that's awesome. Did we talk that night? I remember I did like a impromptu Twitter spaces that day.

remnynt: I think so. Yeah, maybe a little bit.

Nicholas: Okay, a little bit. Yeah, it's good to hear from you again. Thanks. Yeah, the Cyborg Roise episode just went out at the time. we're recording this. And that was a great conversation with Ben. Learned so much about these older puzzle contracts that got him interested in the space that I just I wasn't privy to. I wasn't around at the time. So it was very cool conversation. Thanks for listening. So today we're going to talk about the Reliquary, of course. But I guess before we jump into that, maybe I don't know how much you're comfortable sharing about your past. But I know you mentioned to me that you had some experience in game dev. Is that right?

remnynt: Yeah, I'm happy to talk about it. It'll be like one of those books where like, all the proper nouns are replaced. I've always been a really passionate gamer and like super excited about fantasy worlds and building experiences. I started designing mazes for my friends in about third grade, and that quickly became like a platformer on paper. So I would literally draw these game maps, essentially partially inspired by Super Mario 64. And so your goal is to like collect stars, there are bouncy balls you could jump on. And I would watch people play it and they would have a mechanical pencil with like the lead pushed in and you could only jump so high. So if they jumped too high, it's like, no, no, no, you can't jump that high. So it's literally like a little 2D platformer on paper. That's great. Yeah, I've always loved building stuff like that. And I got into QBasic and had my own GeoCities website and hosted stuff there and ended up studying computer science, getting into generative art a bit. And then I got into the games industry and worked in there for over a decade. I was coding games, designing games. I ended up running a few studios. I lived in Tokyo for a year, worked with some IPs out there, got to visit the Square Enix building, which was a dream come true. And yeah, that was awesome. I got my start as an indie game dev, ended up joining a startup instead of going on my own. And I was kind of chasing this goal. It was weird because I started sort of free as an indie dev, like I could build whatever I want. And then I sort of quickly fell into this while you're building some very specific stuff for some other people that may or may not be creatively aligned with you. And it was progressively less creative aligned over time. And then I kind of had this dream, like, you know, if this startup is successful, I'll be free again one day and be able to build games the way I think they should be built. Games for game's sake, art for art's sake. And eventually I just was going crazy and had to get out on my own. And Web3, NFTs, blockchain, all of this kind of hitting last year was an opportunity to get out. And for me, I was so desperate to have creative freedom that I took the leap.

Nicholas: That's awesome. I imagine also the timeline on building traditional studio games is just so long. It seems like a real slog. Was that your experience of it?

remnynt: It wasn't because I was building JavaScript games. After doing it for 10 years, I got really fast at it. The first real hit game we had was around 2016. And that one took, I want to say like a month or two, just sort of coding and designing the mechanics. And then we were building on it for three years. Once it went live, it reached well over a hundred million players globally, which was insane.

Nicholas: Crazy. They're playing on browser?

remnynt: Mobile devices. Yes. It was a mobile game. Oh, cool.

Nicholas: I didn't realize JavaScript was a typical choice for shipping to mobile devices.

remnynt: Well, it was Facebook Instant Games. So the whole movement there for a while. So having sort of the web two platform reaches is partially how it got so big. But yeah, I tend to keep it on the DL a little bit, but happy to sort of DM if you really want to know.

Nicholas: No, no, no. I'm more curious about the, you know, not the specifics of this game, but for instance, that Facebook Instant stuff, I don't think I've ever played one of those. Is that a North American audience or more global audience, I suppose?

remnynt: It is global. North America was definitely the place where any sort of revenue came in. It was huge in the Philippines, for example. What was number two? Thailand. A couple other places.

Nicholas: Interesting. I've heard the Philippines is the place where people spend the most time on average online. I don't know if that's still true, but I've heard that in the past.

remnynt: Yeah. There's a real interesting interplay between like the different audiences and behaviors globally, like how they use these platforms. And in the Philippines in particular, there's a lot of users on Facebook Messenger. And so people were like really quickly engaging with each other in the games on that platform.

Nicholas: Interesting. But so I can see how especially that kind of game maybe, yeah, wouldn't be tugging at your heartstrings for, you know, or getting you excited. Would you have liked to work on traditional studio games?

remnynt: I think so. So this one in particular did happen to be a passion project. It's just one of those things where, yeah, it was a fantasy RPG. Oh, that's good. So that's literally my jam. And I built that world. I did everything from like the code, the game design to like writing the voice lines for the characters. So that was super fun. But at the same time, it had a different purpose compared to what I would do by myself as an artist.

Nicholas: Right. Right. I guess if you're still working on it for years after, really focus on the financial element, I'm sure is the focus of the experience. Yeah. That's interesting. And then so NFTs hit and then you came into the NFT scene. So had you shipped anything of note prior to, you know, even like small projects prior to the Reliquary? Or you did, I know you did Vibes Art. Actually, but was there anything even before that? or was that the first one?

remnynt: No, that was the first one. I bought my first NFT in September and I was like most people really skeptical at first. Didn't know what I was getting into. You know, I was coming from mostly Bitcoin, but was kind of curious about Ethereum. And when I bought my first NFT, it was actually called the Ethereans. It was these little alien dudes, super cute. I had so much fun revealing them. It felt like kind of the gotchas that I had gotten addicted to, you know, living in the mobile game space for so long. And it just kind of clicked with me like. this is real. All the feelings are there. The ownership is there. I instantly was looking on secondary to buy ones that I vibed with more and I was pretty hooked. Actually, what brought me in was seeing Art Blocks because I love generative art and loot from Dom. I was seeing, hey, like there are my tribe is over here. They're making fantasy RPG stuff. I got to explore this a little more.

Nicholas: That's cool. What was the first NFT you bought?

remnynt: Ethereans. The Ethereans.

Nicholas: Ethereans. I've heard of it, but I don't have one of my own, but okay, cool.

remnynt: Yeah. They're kind of like little aliens, almost like Pixar made aliens or like, what are those little yellow guys that look like pills?

Nicholas: Minions? Yes.

remnynt: Them. It's kind of a little bit like those guys.

Nicholas: That's funny. But yeah. Okay. So I see why loot sort of brings it all together. The RPG fantasy and the generative on-chain, maybe not generative, but on-chain randomized gotcha elements. So yeah. So loot was like a big moment for you.

remnynt: Yeah, absolutely. And then the Vibes contract was, so I'm leaving my games industry job and I needed to sort of prove to myself that I could make something and make a living. And I started with the loot contract as sort of my solidity playground to learn the code and dig in. And so if you look at the Vibes contract, it's basically the loot contract with my art inside of it. So.

Nicholas: Yeah. So tell me a little bit about how your contract works. What is Vibes?

remnynt: Yeah. So when I first joined, I was looking at art blocks really closely and I knew that I had the talent to build something like what I was seeing on their platform. The applications were closed and I just felt like I want to get moving on this now. I want to prove I can make a living and I don't really want to ask someone's permission to make my art. And so I was like, the only option is to learn solidity because then no one can tell me now. So Vibes is kind of like solo art blocks. I capture a block hash, the moment you met, and that is the seed for the generative art. I was basically exploring color theory and trying to create like beautiful gradients. And I got just really deep into the math and started fiddling with it. And I sort of stumbled on this. I say I discovered it, what I call the Vibes algorithm. And I thought it was beautiful and I got addicted to it. And I just started sort of crafting it, playing with it, molding it. And I started building color palettes for it. This is all JavaScript, just using raw canvas API, because that was my background for the past 10 years prior. And I fell in love with that and found out, Hey, I can put this on chain and have no dependencies. I'm a big fan of decentralization. I look at that as sort of what makes everything we're doing here special in a number of ways, both in terms of long-term resiliency and in terms of provenance. And why are we even using blockchains, right? And not a database. So putting it on chain kind of felt like the natural right thing to do.

Nicholas: So I guess more like loot than art blocks in Yes.

remnynt: So I'm storing the JavaScript as a big, a giant string on chain. And then that is pieced together in some HTML and whatever random generation in terms of the traits and all of the metadata comes from that block hash that's captured. And that's kind of mixed with some entropy from the token ID and yeah. And all of that's injected into the JavaScript and that's the direct output from on chain. There was a big hurdle towards the end when I realized that OpenSea didn't support direct from on chain HTML. I think you and Ben covered this a little bit, but I had originally planned to base 64 encode the JavaScript in HTML and have that just read directly in the animation URL because the ERC 721 standard does support HTML in the spec. So I thought, or at least on the OpenSea site, they say they do. So I thought that's a route to go, but in the end it wasn't supported yet. Last time I checked, they were pre-pending IPFS colon slash slash in front of my data URI. And so I cried. The last minute I figured out, okay, I'll use IPFS. I'll render like a high-res version of vibes and I'll cache those on IPFS and just update the pointer. So the output for vibes is on chain. What you see on the marketplace is a cached high-res render from IPFS.

Nicholas: Yeah. That's basically what most projects have opted for so far. I think even some projects that do manage to serve a iframe to OpenSea, I haven't done this myself, so this is a bit secondhand, but my understanding is that it squashes the output inside of a white frame. So the artwork looks really small, even if you can get it to work. So most projects tend to go with the off-chain cached render or render in the meantime, and then maybe option to update it in the future should OpenSea ever get with the program. Exactly.

remnynt: We love our toggles and the contract, so we're ready.

Nicholas: That's great. So basically vibes.art. So I don't know if people have taken a look, but the URL is vibes.art and they're sort of abstract, I guess, vector art, but with almost like a film grain or like a texture to the artwork. that doesn't look like your typical sort of vector gradient art that you might relate it to it as a extra grit to it. Is there anything you can explain about what it is that you learned during your color theory exploration that informed some of that and what the tech is behind making them look so unique and gritty? Yeah.

remnynt: So there's a couple of things going on. The first is that gradient. It's literally drawn pixel by pixel and it's trying to find, I mean, when you're calculating a gradient, you're trying to find the distance from your current pixel to whatever color points are on the plane there with you and whichever color point is closest, it's going to influence the color the most. I think just if folks aren't familiar with what color theory is, it's kind of like how color can be so subjective. I think a great example is that dress that everyone confused. It was like blue and black or white and gold and no one really knew. Color theory is basically exploring how color can be so subjective and depending on the context change the meaning. And so part of my thinking with vibes was like, I'm thinking of just rooms around the world. I'm thinking of like my mom and her friends. I'm thinking of like my friend, I'm thinking of like my basement where I want to have some like neon gamer stuff set up. I'm thinking of more formal and more casual, just crazy amount of breadth out there in terms of what fits each room, like what art you would put in a hotel versus your house versus wherever. And so I was kind of thinking like there's a room for every vibe and I wanted to have it broad enough that like you could find the right fit. I don't know if that was the right strategy, but I was pretty happy with how broad everything was.

Nicholas: When you say room, you mean like for displaying the vibes?

remnynt: Yes, because the Genesis collection, you get a free physical print.

Nicholas: Oh, I forgot about this. Okay.

remnynt: So I was learning from Tyler Hobbs, the artist behind Fidenza. I looked at what he was doing for his prints. I live in a pretty artsy town and so there's plenty of print shops around. I found a family doing it out of their basement and they had the Hahnemühler sort of archival paper. that's rated for 150 years and it just kind of fit the ethos. It's like what's the most resilient kind of paper you could print on and just went and did all that.

Nicholas: Are those all sent out yet? or if people buy them, can they still claim the physicals?

remnynt: Yes, you can claim the physicals. I've only printed the first batch that started a few weeks ago and there are mints available too. And so if you've met one and you like what you got, you can claim a print on it. Each print is a one of one. I should have already hosted this by now. I haven't put it on my website yet, but you will be able to check which prints have been claimed. So I'm going to make sure that I don't double print any of them.

Nicholas: I'm just looking at the website now. So there's the Genesis Vibes. There's 7,777 of them for 0.07 ETH plus gas. So those are the ones that come with a print. There'll be some UI for figuring out which ones have a claimable print. And then what's Open Vibes?

remnynt: So Open Vibes, when I shipped Genesis Vibes, I had maybe 300 followers on Twitter and had no idea what I was doing in terms of reaching out, connecting with people. I mean, this was in the PFP mania. And one of the groups that I ended up connected with was they're mostly like traders. So they have more of a background of crypto and sort of trading background. And they had a project called Wonky Stonks, where they did a free mint and you got sort of a picture of candlesticks, basically like a trader looking at candlesticks and kind of like some trippy color palettes. And they did a whole free mint and it just, it blew up. And I was like, wow, I guess that's how NFT projects are able to reach people. And so I thought, you know, if I want to get my art out there, maybe just kind of coming at this with a big price tag of 0.07, and ETH price was going up at the time. This was like October-ish, you know, so it was before our all-time high. And I kind of felt like, okay, I need to offer this art out there for free.

Nicholas: Cool. So for people listening, as of right now, there's on the order of 6,000 Genesis Vibes still available. All the Open Vibes are minted out, but obviously they're available in the secondary. And so it's the Genesis ones that'll come with a print.

remnynt: That's right.

Nicholas: Cool. Sorry. So I interrupted you. You were going to say something about the math for calculating gradients and how textures come into the picture too.

remnynt: Yes. So for the most part, the math is resolution independent, meaning you could zoom into a vibe infinitely. The browsers tend to crash if you're rendering like 9,600 pixels. If you're rendering more than that, when you get to around 10K, if you wanted to zoom in infinitely, you would have to break up or zoom into a smaller portion. But the point is that is resolution independent. So you can zoom in as far as you want, but there's two traits that aren't resolution independent. And one is the one you mentioned, the grain, and the other is the style. And so those create some of the more trippy rendering styles and some of the texture, but those are, I like to say there's observational relativity. So by the act of observation, by the device you're using, by the resolution of however you're viewing the vibe, there's a little bit of difference there for those two traits.

Nicholas: That's cool. It reminds me of the example I always bring up is the Schrodinger Pepe, or I don't know if that's the exact right name. Do you know what I'm talking about?

remnynt: I know Schrodinger's cat and I know Pepe, so I can imagine.

Nicholas: You get the idea. There's a rare Pepe that from way back, I don't know, we were children when they put out this sort of NFT that depending on the browser, if you looked at it in Firefox versus Chrome, you'd see a different image. They were using some difference in how, I don't remember which standard renders things differently, but they used it to have two images in one, one NFT. So a little bit like that. So I keep thinking that it's like on-chain SVG, but it's not. It's on-chain JavaScript rendering, really?

remnynt: Yep, exactly.

Nicholas: And is there, I guess, no libraries involved? You're kind of by hand rendering everything with JavaScript.

remnynt: Yes, that's right. There's no libraries. I definitely think there's something to the argument that, you know, these are in like the Arctic vault in Antarctica or whatever. P5.js and some of these other libraries aren't going away. I did get burned to find my GeoCities and all my QBasic programs are lost. There's no way, I don't think I'm ever going to recover those. So there is some code rot out there, right? But I think a lot of these libraries will be just fine.

Nicholas: Am I seeing correctly? It only costs half an ETH to deploy. I'm kind of impressed. I thought it would be a lot more with all that JS.

remnynt: Oh, vibes? Yeah. Well, I flubbed it up. This was my first deploy. I think I lost an ETH. I tried to speed up the transaction. I was using Remix at the time and I sped it up and it disconnected. So like two of the libraries went out by themselves and then I redeployed. And then a lot of the spending went into batch minting the reserve. So I reserved 77 vibes, ended up giving the majority of those away. So I've given away a total of 80 vibes and I've bought something like 30 or 40 off the secondary. and doing batch mints before the ERC721A was pretty expensive, especially because I was storing the block cache.

Nicholas: Got it. Got it. Yeah. I see. I was only looking at the transaction associated with the NFT contract, but you put out some libraries as well. So it doesn't capture the whole. Yeah. It's like a few ETH. it looks like to deploy something like that. Yeah. Very cool. Yeah. And I agree. It's nice to have the JavaScript right on chain. I think it's among a couple of things, hard blocks could improve. That's one of them. Having all those projects on the same contract is maybe even more urgent in a way, but yeah, very cool. Okay. So that's vibes.art. So that's the first project kind of all art oriented, but forever backed up on the blockchain. And then that was like October of last year or something like that. And then the next project straight into the Reliquary. I guess you've been working on it since. vibes. Yeah.

remnynt: I started the Reliquary in early December and I think it was some of the folks from the vibes community had they wanted to see vibes animated. So the project started as how can I build something for my collectors that is somehow related to the project. So I started with exploring how I could animate that algorithm.

Nicholas: Oh, interesting. Okay. That's where the Reliquary started, but it's much more than that. I mean, I've poked around the contract a little bit. Can you explain a little bit what the experience is like of just holding an NFT to start with? for people who haven't seen the NFT yet? It's interactive as well. So I'm on OpenSea. I'm taking a look at the NFT. I know I can like click and drag and start to sort of paint over it. But the very basic experience I get the NFT, what can I do?

remnynt: Oh gosh. Okay. So you can customize it in a total of four different ways. And while you're also still locked into sort of rarity tiers in terms of what animations are available to you and what palettes are there by default. But I wanted to open it up more because around, I think it must've been middle of December, but Terraforms by Mathcastle's minted. And I minted a few and like with almost every mint I've ever minted, I didn't get the ones that sort of fit my vibe. So I didn't instantly fall in love with it, but I thought, Hey, these are cool. And people like them and it's on chain. And I could feel like there was a little world underneath it. There's a clear hint that there's something more to it. And so as I ended up learning more about what they'd built. in January, I think actually I had chatted with 113D a few times in their discord. And when I found out that one of the palettes was based on Earthbound, well, more specifically, the Japanese release, the mother one and two box set of like super Famicom video games. Earthbound was my favorite game growing up. And so when I went to, when I was in Japan, I picked up a bunch of super Famicom games and I had the box set literally sitting right beside me. And so here's this artist that was inspired by one of those like cherished possessions that I've collected outside of any blockchain stuff. And so I instantly was like, okay, I want to know this person more and learn more about what they built. And I ended up drawing Ness, the main character from Earthbound on one of the terraforms. I just fell in love with that experience of taking like a precious memory, like a favorite character and immortalizing them on the blockchain. And then having this sort of like artwork that I sort of collaborated with 113D and Zolkeis, the Math Castles team and you know, the creators of that IP. It's sort of like a big collaboration of love. It felt really special. I don't know how to describe it, but when you put something you love into this like constrained art form and you own it and it's on the blockchain, like all of those things combined, there's this recipe for a really special feeling. And I never felt that before. So I had already planned to make the animated vibes interactive. I wanted you to be able to play with the color palettes and probably do different things with vibes themselves. And falling in love with the Math Castles experience of being able to draw on your NFT really inspired me. And so I almost immediately reached out to 113D and was like, Hey, I'm going to do something kind of similar, at least in terms of the drawing, because I love what you've done so much.

Nicholas: That's awesome. I'm curious. You know, I only know Earthbound from NES and Super Smash from when I was a kid. What is it about Earthbound that you connected with?

remnynt: Yeah. So Earthbound is your typical JRPG of the era. You run around a world map, you run into enemies and you go into a battle screen and you're selecting like, are you casting like magic, which was like psychic abilities? Are you bashing them with your baseball bat? But what was really special about Earthbound was it was supposed to be modern era. So it was essentially 1990s and you're a kid with a baseball bat and a baseball cap. And your first friend is a girl with a frying pan and a little ribbon in her hair. So instead of being Zelda or Link with a sword in Zelda, you're just a normal kid with a baseball bat. And so you're fighting like the thugs and punks at the local arcade and it escalates all the way to, can I spoil it? The story is so good.

Nicholas: You can give a hint or whatever. How far along is in the game is what you're about to say.

remnynt: The very end, it pulls on your heartstrings so much. Like, what these kids sacrifice to save the universe, to save the world. It's just amazing. You're fighting this nightmarish entity called Giygas. Back in time, your soul is like extracted from your body. All right.

Nicholas: We're all going to have to play Earthbound now.

remnynt: It's unreal.

Nicholas: We got to get a Famicom and the Japanese version. I guess I'll find out how the best way is to play the game.

remnynt: You can play in English for sure. And so it's just quirky. The whole thing is funny. The music is good. It's kind of trippy. It's just a really fun experience. It's such a work of art. And I didn't even understood what that meant when I was 10 years old, but looking back on it, it's just a really, really special game. Awesome.

Nicholas: Okay. I'll have to go back and play it. It's really gorgeous. Just looking at the screenshots for like a Super Nintendo game. I don't recall Super Nintendo being so colorful or so sort of enigmatic, the little town that they're in. Okay. So you're inspired by Terraforms to do the painting on the NFTs and in the spirit of customizing them, writing those paintings or writing that customization to the NFT. I know that just if I look at them now, I can sort of click and draw on them. You told me I can hit shift and it does something different. One thing in the background of all this is that I know it's also a little bit mysterious. So I don't feel free to say you'd rather not say about anything.

remnynt: Oh no, it's okay. I'm happy to share. So there are controls built in and it's a paint app. So each NFT is a paint app built into a generative artwork. And so your paintbrush palette is going to vary based on your NFT. The animation of that generative art is going to vary based on your NFT. When you met, you're locking into... So these are called relics. These are artifacts found in ancient reliquary that was lost for millennia. And so what you've got is this ancient device. It's like ancient technology. I was thinking a little bit about the Breath of the Wild, how they incorporate those little tablets and make it a part of this. Oh, this is this ancient technology that's come through. This is sort of that level of interactive ancient technology. It's got runic circuits in it. And so it's responding to your touch as you're interacting with it. That's you painting on it. But some of these have paintings or customizations that came from before your time. And so those are hidden. You can draw boxes. You hold down spacebar. If you hold down shift, that's erase. One through zero, like one through nine are your color palette and zero is your erase also. And if you hold down control, you can do a screen wipe to a certain color. So if you do like control one or control nine or control zero, it's going to screen wipe to that color.

Nicholas: Oh, I hadn't discovered that part. Okay. And I forgot about the spacebar drawing rectangles. Also cool.

remnynt: Those are fine.

Nicholas: So these are sort of superficially modifying an interactive element for playing with the visual, but can these be written? Because I know reading the contract, there's a lot more to it than just that.

remnynt: Yes. Yeah. So if you hit L, it's going to console.log your drawing to data in the developer tools of your browser. I think it's like on a Mac, it's command shift I, you can pull up developer tools and you'll see all the zeros and ones and nines and eights printed out as an array. And you can input that on ether scan with your token ID and save your drawing permanently. There is a catch and that is that you have to permanently burn a vibe as a sort of utility token. So you're actually locking a vibe. It could be an open vibe or a Genesis vibe into the reliquary forever. That creates, I think, an interesting dynamic where vibes become deflationary over the longterm and also the reliquary, the relics themselves over time sort of ossify into their final form. So you can customize these while there are vibes you're willing to burn.

Nicholas: So I could potentially customize it multiple times as long as each time I'm burning a vibe. Yes.

remnynt: And this one, I need to thank someone.eth for this. They pointed me towards on ERC721 receive. And so you can, from the vibes contract, do a safe transfer from send a vibe to the reliquary contract and pass it all of the data necessary to fully customize it. So I mentioned there's four ways to customize. The first is called transmute element, and you can actually play with that now on the site. I'm actually working on making this a lot easier for non-technical folks to get into. I'm going to make it like a single transaction from my site to do everything, but it's just a little bit of a web dev work. So the first piece is visible there. And if you go to the vibes.art slash relics, you can preview what it would be like to transmute your relic to another element. So you're locked into the rarity tiers that you rolled so that the rarity still matters. But if you got something that wasn't your favorite, like say, you know, you're kind of a water elemental. You like to stay hydrated, but you rolled a fire relic. You can transmute it to water and get something that is even more in line with like what you like or more aligned with the artwork you want to create and put on chain.

Nicholas: Very cool. And so that would. transmutation requires the sacrifice of a vibe as well.

remnynt: Yes, it does. Each of these does. The next one is create glyph that is storing a drawing on chain permanently.

Nicholas: These look very cool. I've seen a couple of these. that I think you did. Maybe these are really interesting looking.

remnynt: Yeah, there's a whole set of one of ones hidden in there as well. We can maybe talk about later, but those are called the grails.

Nicholas: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Let's come back to this. Okay.

remnynt: So the second way you can customize this crate glyph. that's saving your drawing. The third way is imagine colors that is you create any color palette you want. And so one awesome example from a community member was they love the Charlotte Hornets. So they took the Charlotte Hornets color palette and the Charlotte Hornets logo and like fully customized and awesome Charlotte Hornets relic and it's level two. So the animation is mutated. It's just it's pretty wild. And that's the fourth way you can customize these is they actually can level up, they can be upgraded and that evolves or mutates the animation quite a bit and it becomes instead of like sort of a pure elemental artwork, it becomes more of like a glitch artwork.

Nicholas: Okay, so I'm looking at the. is it volteon? What's the name of the book?

remnynt: Jolteon?

Nicholas: Yeah, it's been a while. So this is a lot. I'm gonna give people a token ID 207. I'm curious if you know offhand the token idea the other one you're mentioning.

remnynt: Oh, the Hornets. Yeah. 207 is the Jolteon. That's a really fun one to play. Like if you want to try the transmute element on the website, that one is particularly fun.

Nicholas: Okay, so vibes.art slash relics and then punch in 207 and we can see what the other elements look like. They are very different. Yeah. So each of these elements is. is it fair to think of it as like a renderer or a shader?

remnynt: These are shaders. I love shaders. I want to get more into that maybe on another collection. But these are. it's really just noise actually. It's so it's simplex noise. I just took a lot of time creating different sort of color palettes of noise and sizes and shapes. And then I found ways to reach into that noise and use it as a source of entropy for other weirdness. So like I started treating those noise layers as an input to sort of glitch out the pixel data. And when you evolve a relic, you really see that come into play at level two.

Nicholas: Okay, cool. Yeah. So like I'm looking at the Jolteon one. I think the I don't know what the element is. But the sun emoji is the coolest one in my opinion. Nice.

remnynt: The element of light.

Nicholas: Yeah, it looks awesome. Interesting. I mean, we haven't even talked about this. And I want to come back because I'm not sure we got all four of those techniques. But reading the contract, it really is thick with lore and meant to be read. Yes. Both I think. reading the contract, I'll put in the show notes and I put up in the Twitter spaces. Thank you. Reading through the contract, reading the comments is valuable. And it's also very interesting to experience it through ether scan where the Natsbeck comments come through really well. I guess probably not all of them come through. But for each function, you have a little place scene setting around what each operation can do. I thought that was really beautiful.

remnynt: Thank you. Thank you so much. I love writing. And when I created vibes, I was really proud of the artwork I didn't have. Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn't great connecting with folks and like learning basically how to market myself. I was like, should I do giveaways and have them tag three friends? Like is that how this space works? You know, I literally didn't know like what what everything was. And I kind of feel like over the six months, especially with a lot of influence from folks like 113d and the math castles guys and seeing what Dom did with corruptions like that, I feel like I'm understanding more really what feels right. So this is something I always struggled with in the games industry. I had this feeling that a lot of folks, especially in Silicon Valley believe that the only way to be successful is through like mechanical virality or through advertising and having enough ad budget. And I get it like distribution is king, you know, like all sort of all these mantras. But like I always believed in my core self that creating something beautiful that people love and creating something that's like more people subjectively resonate with that is possible. And if you create something that people really like, and they tell their friends about it, then you don't have to have like a tag three friends spam fest for your work to propagate. And so my goal with this was really to like lean into what I love, lean into what I'm good at. And some of that is like fantasy writing and world building. Some of that is generative art, some of that is coding. And I just wanted to take all of myself and make the best thing I could with in about four months.

Nicholas: That's great. Reminds me the James Joyce thing about the particular being more universal. I think he said he only ever wrote about Dublin and that was more relatable than trying to write something generic. It's funny because I often notice in social media, like in TikTok and so on, there's this kind of dancing in a Walmart aesthetic or, you know, doing something somewhat relatable in an environment that is as relatable as possible.

remnynt: Yeah.

Nicholas: But yeah, I agree. Like doing kind of scammy giveaways and things I don't think fits. I'm not sure that audience would appreciate reading through the contract.

remnynt: Yeah. Yeah. People have all sorts of complexities, right? And like, I think there's different groups and audiences or however you want to try and categorize folks. At the end of the day, I wanted to connect with people who like stuff that I do, because the way that I'm going to be happy is if I'm making fantasy worlds. And if I'm making, you know, elemental systems, basically, I think I'm going to end up making a game or I'm going to make generative art that builds out a world that eventually becomes a game. I just, I don't know how I don't end up getting back into games again. I just want it to be from more from the heart and less from like the kind of free to play mobile games industry.

Nicholas: Sure. I think you're safe from that now. So we talked about a few different ways that you can modify them. The first was hitting L and copying your drawing and then applying it to the NFT.

remnynt: Yes.

Nicholas: What's that called?

remnynt: Create glyph.

Nicholas: Create glyph. Okay. And then the second one was transmutation, which on the website, you can see the different elements. You mentioned the fourth one. I'm not sure now. What are the third and fourth ones? Can you repeat?

remnynt: Yeah. The third one is imagine colors. So that is picking any color palette. Okay. The colors are like an integer between zero and 16.7 million. So that's zero is your black and 16 something million is white. And you, you have a certain number of colors. That's part of the random roll on chain when you meant. so you can pick a value for each of those. And then the, the fourth one is upgrading right now. The only way to upgrade is through mana.

Nicholas: Okay. And where does one get mana secrets?

remnynt: There's a couple of ways. This was something that I was really inspired by corruptions. I thought the insight was really cool that Don built into the corruptions pieces. So for folks that don't know corruptions generate insight over time, if they stay still in a wallet and the longer they stay still, the more insight they generate. It sort of accelerates. man is slightly different. It's a, I think you generate about a hundred mana per year. If you upgrade the relic, it's 150 mana per year. And if you transfer the NFT, if you transfer the relic, runic circuits are delicate. And so your man is cut in half. And my thinking behind that was I wanted a holders collectors to have an incentive to hold and to keep for their mana to generate. But I also didn't want to like eliminate any value that they had earned from holding for whatever time period. So you don't lose all the mana in a sale, for example, you only lose half.

Nicholas: Got it. So the ones that have images are the one of ones.

remnynt: There are one of ones, they mostly honor other projects in the space and those are hidden right now. That is one of those secrets that I will not tell you. it's up to the holders of relics to discover how to, how to unlock those. But the ones like the Jolteon, for example, that is not a one of one. That was just me drawing my favorite Pokemon on a relic.

Nicholas: Ah, I see. So you, whether manually or with the help of a tool emblazoned your NFT with it.

remnynt: Yeah, I did him by hand, but I have a, what are they called? Perler beads, like the little beads that melt together. I have him on my wall behind me right now. I'm a serious evolutions fan and Jolteon was my, was my best boy. So I, that's great.

Nicholas: Yeah. Awesome. So if people are interested, I guess the best thing to do is to go grab one of these if they'd like, and to definitely take a look at reading the code. I think frankly, I haven't seen a contract that reads this way. I've seen some things, and you know, I think famously like Dom has done, like I think the guy, corruptions are one of them, like long function names that are sort of part of the lore, but I've never seen anyone do comments quite like this. And it flows through to the names of the and the whole experience really asks you to go in and read the contract and interact on Etherscan and check it out. So that seems to be like the best thing people can do. And also to try to figure out how to unlock these one of ones that right. It seems like a challenge.

remnynt: That's right. That's right. It's going to be evenly distributed and fair. I will say it's the first 800 relics is where those will land. So that's, I guess a little alpha there.

Nicholas: That's why people listen to this show. There's only 415 minutes so far.

remnynt: Yeah. So we're approaching that. If you, if you wanted to collect one of those, those are special. I tried really hard to not make it gameable. I think it's really hard to be, do anything a hundred percent on chain when it comes to like pseudo random generation without doing some kind of like Oracle or chain link integration.

Nicholas: Actually, it's a good question. I was looking at this. I know Solvency used a thing where they, and I think Artblocks does too, although it was a little bit difficult. I was researching yesterday how Artblocks does randomness. And someone told me chain runners maybe does something similar with grabbing the balances of some like Uniswap pools or something. Some, some numbers that would be difficult to game and concatenating them, a source of randomness.

remnynt: Oh, that's super interesting. I also heard that randomness is going to change with after the merge.

Nicholas: Oh, it'll be available as a op code or something.

remnynt: More like. I need to look back into it again, but it was something like, oh snap, this is going to really affect how we do things.

Nicholas: Oh snap, we're all fucked. I mean, one thing that comes to mind is like, you could imagine a reorg if someone really nabbed, like, I don't know if there was a project that was extremely lucrative to have a rare, and you could imagine a reorg. Someone from Polygon was saying that Polygon Studios, which is their NFT division was pointing out that the, I don't remember what the other side, other deeds cost in gas, but millions and millions. And he was saying it would be like $800 on Polygon. But it seems to me that if you do it on a chain like that, you'll just get reorg. They have like regular hundred block reorgs.

remnynt: Oh, wow.

Nicholas: I don't know what the situation will be with post merge L1, but yeah, even if you could find a really good source of randomness, you could, if it's worth it, someone will pay to reorg it.

remnynt: Yeah. It's one of those things that becomes even more of a problem if folks get really, really keen on your work, like the kind of projects that mint out really fast, or I think it boils down to there being an economic return or not for someone to, I guess, rare snipe or whatever sort of vulnerability you expose. If there's a guaranteed return, then they'll do it.

Nicholas: The realist of blockchain game.

remnynt: Yeah, exactly.

Nicholas: Cool. So if people want to keep up with you, I guess they can obviously follow you on Twitter. Is there anything else you're thinking about or interested in that people should be paying attention to for the Reliquary and other projects going forward? Yeah.

remnynt: I will say there is an on-chain quest and there's a limited amount of slots for folks who can complete it. And so that's a little fun thing if you want to kind of explore. I designed it in a way that all of the steps to complete it are visible on EtherScan. So you don't necessarily have to go read the code or understand the code, but I will say it's a bit harder than I anticipated. I think there's a step where there's kind of like a 12%, 12.5% chance of success and you'll get some transactions. I think expected value of completing the quest is like slightly less than the raw mint price. The other thing is like anyone who has vibes can mint with discounts. If all the vibes that were in existence were used, Relics would be free. So I'm building this in a way where I'm really saying thank you to the folks who believed in me, collected my work. And that's just how I...

Nicholas: How would it make them free? I'm curious.

remnynt: Tim Schell said that I invented a pricing mechanic.

Nicholas: Put that on the box. That's good.

remnynt: It just seemed natural. It was like the mint price is 0.15. And if you have a Genesis vibe, that's 0.12 off. So you can get a Relic for 0.03. And an open vibe is 0.05 off. And those discounts stack. So if you had several vibes or bought them on secondary, you can get several mints for free. And it stores any leftover discount in the contract as sort of Ether channeled from those vibes. If you did want to mint that way, maybe buying on secondary or something like that, there is a way to check whether or not the vibe you're buying has already been claimed. And that is vibes Ether channeled on the Reliquary contract on the read side.

Nicholas: When you say that it sort of keeps track of discounts in excess of the mint price, that's for that address or for anybody who mints next?

remnynt: Yes. Yeah, for that wallet.

Nicholas: Crazy. All right. Well, damn, a lot of alpha today.

remnynt: Yeah. And so I can't make any promises. And this is presented without obligation. I'm here to stay. I'm going to keep building stuff. And I hope that we find more uses for mana in the future. We might just find more ways to use it.

Nicholas: Awesome. Mana GLD confirmed. If anyone wants to ask a question, feel free to request and bring it up. So Mana GLD, is that programmed in? Awesome. I don't know.

remnynt: I don't want to make an ERC20. I like the idea of the resources kind of being in the NFT itself. I don't know. I just feel I'm a little bit worried about making an ERC20.

Nicholas: You can always make an 1155. That's an ERC20 with a picture. So that's nice. That's true. Yeah.

remnynt: I'm not sure what a fully on-chain game would look like. What I would end up doing is building something more off-chain with on-chain moments.

Nicholas: I guess the meta has at times strayed towards gaming. I guess aside from play to earn, which looks more like maybe your past life a little bit, I've been very skeptical that any of these NFT projects are going to be able to create a game that is fun when most people in the gaming industry are not able to do so. Regardless of how much money you have, it's not so easy to make something that people want to play for the pleasure of playing it. I'm curious if you have thoughts on... It seems to me like the natural thing for games and NFTs is to engage directly with the market because that is kind of the game in this world. Maybe one day there will be games that are off-chain and you're not playing for tokens or any kind of financial incentive, but it's going to require a graveyard full of games that nobody actually enjoyed. Especially if people are thinking about their time in terms of opportunity cost for farming L2 airdrops or whatever. Playing your game may not be high on their priority list. How do you think about gaming?

remnynt: I think it's really hard because someone said it really well the other day and it resonated with me. You're creating this corrupt relationship with a player where they're in it for a profit, not to play the game. From that point onward, everything you build is more about the profit. In some ways, Eurion is a game itself. It really does feel like an MMO has jumped out of our computer screens and enraptured a lot of us. We're kind of already playing, right? I want to build something that you would play just for fun. I think back to Diablo II when I was young and a lot like World of Warcraft, those were probably some of my biggest games. The feeling in Diablo II when you found a unique drop that you're looking for was so special. I think about roguelikes a lot and finding some balance between modern effects, modern mechanics, and graphics, but with the aesthetic of a Link to the Past SNES game. The kind of loot drops from a Diablo II where you're hunting for that adrenaline rush of finding the really special piece. I think there is a moment where blockchain could come in because we saw economies develop in Diablo II. People were denominating things in sojas, the Stones of Jordan ring. You could trade a full inventory of 40 sojas for some of the more rare things. People found ways to pay money to the ultra-rare wind force with perfect 8% mana steel. It was a treasured item. I think those kinds of economies can naturally develop even without blockchain. If there's a way to cleanly let people take value out, it gets so hard. I guess I'm still struggling with it, to be honest with you. Most recently, I played a lot of Genshin Impact. It's no secret I'm a bit of an anime nerd. I love that game. It was really just a Breath of the Wild Zelda clone. They did such a good job with the anime aesthetic and the characters. It was really fun.

Nicholas: The art is great.

remnynt: It's beautiful. I think I spent probably too much on a character or two in that game, rolling the gacha. That's that I'm never going to get back. I might have perfected Ganyu from shooting the ice bows, but I don't play the game anymore. It's worthless to me now.

Nicholas: It would be cool to have it in your wallet. I do see a naive... It's an off-chain game where the things you get are signed by the off-chain game and you can redeem them on-chain for the NFT version of the thing that you've unlocked through gameplay. I guess cheating and stuff become a problem. Yeah.

remnynt: You have to put so much on your own back end. Rather than building the game on the client, you just have to roll gameplay itself to the back end. You can do token-gated stuff, have people sign a message, have your back end say, yep, that's legit. Let this person play. It's all doable. I think it just gets technically a lot more challenging. We were already dealing with hackers just building JavaScript games with no incentive to do so. No economy.

Nicholas: That's crazy.

remnynt: I wonder why. Well, we had the premium currency still. They were basically letting folks get it for free, stuff like that. It was like a constant.

Nicholas: Interesting. Yeah. I was thinking it's interesting. you say push it to the server. It seems more like maybe more like a FPS or something, like an online game almost where you have this cheating problem. Then maybe some of those have economies where it's even more relevant that people are cheating.

remnynt: Exactly. I think to have any kind of blockchain gaming, the starting point is to write all of the logic on the server. That's the only way to avoid people just hacking the hell out of it.

Nicholas: I think let's just say that that's a solvable problem, although it's probably non-trivial. That does seem like a pretty great way. Just play a game, some Diablo II kind of game or World of Warcraft even. I am a little skeptical of all these metaverse games that are supposedly going to be so much fun when there's not that many World of Warcraft level successes.

remnynt: Yeah. That's really true. All right.

Nicholas: Well, thank you so much for coming through, Remnant. This has been super fascinating. I'm on the Mint page for Reliquaries yet again. This has been really cool. Nicholas, thank you so much.

remnynt: It was awesome talking to you. Thanks everyone who came by and really appreciate you all.

Nicholas: Yeah. Thanks everybody for coming through and see you on the blockchain. Peace. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of Web3 Galaxy Brain. To keep up with everything Web3, follow me on Twitter, at Nicholas, with four leading ins. You can find links to the topics discussed on today's episode in the show notes. Podcast feed links are available at web3galaxybrain.com. Web3 Galaxy Brain airs live most Friday afternoons at 5 p.m. Eastern time, 2200 UTC, on Twitter Spaces. I look forward to seeing you there.

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